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Entered, according to act of Congress, in the year 1891, 

In the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington. 

Printed by 


Nos. 229-231 South Fifth Street, 



IN presenting to iron and steel manufacturers and to 
others a second edition of the History of the Manufacture of 
Iron in All Ages I copy from the preface to the first edition, 
which appeared in 1884, the following sentences, explanatory 
of the considerations which led to its publication. 

" No historical record of the iron industry of the scope of 
that which is here presented has been undertaken by any of 
the authoritative writers upon iron and steel. Such standard 
works as those of Alexander, Overman, Percy, and Bauerman 
are more technical than historical, while the excellent his- 
tory of Mr. Scrivenor was published more than forty years 
ago, and relates almost entirely to the iron industry of Great 
Britain. None of the works mentioned devote much atten- 
tion to the growth of the American iron industry. Most of 
them, indeed, were written before our iron industry became 
especially noticeable for either enterprise or productiveness. 
The history of that industry, written from a sympathetic 
standpoint and with a full knowledge of details, and par- 
ticularly with a knowledge of its marvelous growth in the 
last few decades, had yet to be written, and this service I 
have endeavored to perform in the present volume in con- 
nection with the history of the manufacture of iron in other 
countries. I have aimed especially to preserve in chrono- 
logical order a record of the beginning of the iron industry 
in every country and in every section of our own country, 
and to follow this record with a circumstantial account of 
the introduction into our country of all modern methods of 
manufacturing iron and steel. Names of persons and places, 
exact dates, authentic statistics, and accomplished results 
have been preferred to technical details, although these have 
not been neglected. 

" In the collection of the materials for this volume I have 
been exceedingly fortunate in possessing a personal acquaint- 


ance with most of the leading actors in the wonderful de- 
velopment of our American iron industry during the pres- 
ent century, and in learning from their own lips and from 
their own letters many of the incidents of that development. 
It is the exact truth to say that, if the preparation of this 
history had been delayed for a few years, it could not have 
been written, for many of these pioneers are now dead." 

The reasons for the appearance of the first edition hav- 
ing been given above I now add that this second and last 
edition has been prepared because much new information 
relating to the early iron history of our own country and of 
other countries has come into my possession since 1884, and 
because seven succeeding years of great activity in the de- 
velopment of the world's iron and steel industries have been 
productive of important statistical and other results which 
are eminently worthy of preservation in a condensed and 
permanent form. The second edition contains 132 pages of 
historical details more than the first edition. In the first 
edition there were 48 chapters. Nearly every chapter in that 
edition has been in part rewritten. In the present edition 
there are 63 chapters. Among the entirely new chapters of 
the second edition is one relating to the early discoveries of 
coal in the United States, and another detailing the connec- 
tion of the Washington and Lincoln families with the manu- 
facture of iron in colonial times. All accessible statistical in- 
formation relating to the world's production of iron, steel, 
coal, and iron ore has been brought down to the latest pos- 
sible periods. 

Due credit is given in the text to the printed authori- 
ties which have been consulted. My thanks are due to the 
friends who have assisted me in many ways in the collection 
and verification of the fresh historical and statistical mate- 
rials which are now presented. I also express my obliga- 
tions to my proof-readers, Mr. William M. Benney and Mr. 
William G. Gray, who have with great pains assisted me to 
guard against all errors of a serious character. 

PHILADELPHIA, January 1, 1892. 



Iron first made in Asia and in Northern Africa Evidences of the early use of iron by 
the Egyptians, the Chaldeans, the Babylonians, and the Assyrians Iron and steel 
frequently referred to in the Old Testament Known to the Medes and Persians and 
to the people of India, China, Japan, and Corea Decay of the iron and steel indus- 
tries of Asia and Africa, Pages 1-10 


Grecian fables concerning iron and steel Both metals frequently mentioned in the writ- 
ings of Homer, Hesiod, Herodotus, and other early Grecian writers Evidences of the 
early manufacture and use of iron and steel by the Greeks Made by the Etruscans 
and the Romans ; also in Scythia, Noricum, Moravia, and Hungary The early iron 
and steel industries of Spain and the Basque provinces Of France, Belgium, Germany, 
Holland, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden and Norway, Russia, and Finland The Krupps 
of Essen The Russian iron industry in the eighteenth century, Pages 11-32 


Iron known to the Britons before Csesar's invasion but not much used Made by the 
Romans in many parts of Britain Remains of Roman iron works still to be seen 
Iron made in Britain by the Anglo-Saxons and the Danes The British iron industry 
extended by the Normans Greatly promoted in the reign of Edward III. Character- 
istics of the British iron industry in the 13th and 14th centuries The smith in Eng- 
lish history The first use of cannon in England, Pages 33-44 



The manufacture of iron in England greatly extended about the beginning of the 15th 
century Introduction of blast furnaces into England " Many great guns" cast in 
Sussex-Wire first drawn by a mill in England in 1568 Invention of the slitting mill- 
Birmingham in the time of Henry VIII. The art of tinning iron introduced into 
England from the Continent in 1670 Growing scarcity of wood for charcoal in Eng- 
land in the 16th and 17th centuries Only 59 furnaces left in England and Wales in 
1740 England a large importer of iron from Sweden in the 17th and 18th centuries 
and from America and Russia in the 18th century First use of coal in the British iron 
industry Henry Cort's invention of the puddling furnace and grooved rolls Other 
innovations Beginning of the British steel industry Sheffield in 1615 Biographical 
notices of some distinguished men connected with the British iron trade, Pages 45-55 



Iron made in Wales under the Romans Extension of the iron industry of Wales in the 
. 16th century Merthyr Tydvil an iron centre Iron made in Ireland in the reigns of 


Elizabeth and James I., and afterwards The iron industry of Ireland extinct in 1840 
Iron scarce in Scotland in the middle ages Remains of ancient iron works in Scot- 
land described by W. Ivison Macadam Beginning of the modern iron industry of 
Scotland Carron Furnace The Devon Iron Works Pages 56-61 



The 18th century begins a new era in the British iron industry Great Britain becomes 
the first iron manufacturing country The inventions of Payne and Hanbury, of 
Darby, Huntsman, Smeaton, Cort, Watt, Stephenson, Neilson, Crane, and Nasmyth 
Also at a later day of Bessemer, Mushet, and Charles William and Frederick Sie- 
mens Pages 62-64 


Description of the rude direct processes of manufacturing iron which were used by the 
ancients They are still used Goatskin bellows The present method of making steel 
in India Methods of making iron in China, Cambodia, Corea, and Japan Japanese 
and Corean bellows described Iron made in Belgium and England in the days of the 
Romans without an artificial blast A refinery forge described by Virgil Diodorus 
and Pliny describe the early furnaces of Southern Europe The Catalan forge of 
Spain The first mention of coal Used in Anglo-Saxon times Were the Greeks and 
Romans familiar with cast iron? Pages 65-79 



Revival of the iron industry in Europe in the 8th century The wolf furnace, or stuck- 
ofen, first mentioned The osmund furnace The blauofen and flussofen The hochofen 
The blast furnace in use about the beginning of the 14th century The Catalan forge 
and the German bloomary in general use Description by Dr. Parsons of an English 
blast furnace and refinery forge of the 17th century Also by Walter Burrell Puddling 
furnaces and coke blast furnaces not used on the Continent until the 19th century- 
Leather and wooden bellows for blowing blast furnaces The trompe, or water-blast 
Origin of the rolling mill Slitting and rolling mills as "late improvements "John 
Houghton describes a slitting mill Mechanical features of the English iron industry 
at the beginning of the 18th century Professor Akerman's account of the origin of 
the slitting mill and rolling mill Various ancient and modern methods of making 
steel Agricola describes the early German method Thomas Turner's description of 
cemented steel Percy, Griiner, and other authorities on steel quoted Dud Dudley's 
account of the foot-blast Ancient and modern methods of producing steel compared 
The bauernofen, "... Pages 80-99 



Iron made in northern latitudes only Not known to the aboriginal inhabitants of Amer- 
ica except when of meteoric origin First discovery of iron ore in the Atlantic colo- 
nies made in North Carolina in 1585 Iron ore sent from Virginia to England in 1608 
An iron enterprise on Falling Creek, Virginia, undertaken in 1619 Destroyed by the 
Indians in 1622 before it had made any iron No further attempts to make iron in 
Virginia for nearly a hundred years The site of the Falling Creek enterprise de- 
scribed by R. A. Brock, of Richmond Pages 100-107^ 




The first successful iron enterprise in America established by Thomas Dexter, Robert 
Bridges, and others at Lynn, Massachusetts, in 1645, when a blast furnace was put in 
operation, followed in 1648 by a forge at the same place Full description of these 
pioneer iron works The site of these early iron works described The first iron ar- 
ticle made in America still preserved Joseph Jenks Henry and James Leonard 
"Where you can find iron works there you will find a Leonard "A furnace and forge 
built at Braintree, in Massachusetts The next iron enterprise in New England estab- 
lished near Taunton James Leonard and his sons go to Taunton George Hall Other 
members of the Leonard family King Philip "John Ruck and others of Salem" 
Iron made at Concord, Rowley Village, Topsfield, and Boxford, all in Massachusetts 
The Whittington Iron Works The Chartley Iron Works King's Furnace The Hope- 
well Iron Works Iron works at New Haven established by Captain Thomas Clarke, 
John Winthrop, Jr., and others in 1658 Iron made in Rhode Island as early as 1675, 
when a forge at Pawtucket was destroyed by the Indians, Pages 108-119 


The first furnace in Plymouth county, Massachusetts Lambert Despard and the Barkers 
The Bound Brook and Drinkwater iron works The various enterprises of Hugh Orr 
The first cast-iron tea-kettle The first slitting-mill in the colonies Douglass's descrip- 
tion of the iron industry of New England in 1750 Extension of the iron industry into 
Western Massachusetts about 1750 Rapidly extended in Eastern Massachusetts De- 
scription of Federal Furnace in 1804 The bog and pond ores of Massachusetts The 
first steel works in Massachusetts Eliphalet and Jonathan Leonard Iron enterprises 
in Rhode Island before the Revolution Stephen Hopkins, the signer of the Declara- 
tion, and General Nathanael Greene made iron Hope Furnace Cranston and Cumber- 
land Hill The Salisbury iron district in Connecticut Early iron enterprises at Lime 
Rock and Lake ville Colonel Ethan Allen an iron manufacturer at Lakeville Early 
iron enterprises on Mount Riga Prominence of the Salisbury district Milo Barnum 
and William H. Barnum The Holleys Other early iron enterprises in Connecticut- 
Connecticut the first of the colonies to make steel Early iron enterprises in Maine, 
New Hampshire, and Vermont The early nail and tack industry of New England- 
Nails made in chimney corners The first nail-cutting machine Pages 120-135 


The early Dutch settlers of New York did not make iron Philip Livingston establishes 
the first iron works in New York on Ancram creek before 1740 Lawrence Scrawley's 
plating forge at Wawayanda, in Orange county, built about 1745 Other early enter- 
prises in Orange county The Townsends The great iron chain across the Hudson 
in 1778 which prevented British vessels from passing West Point The Sterling Iron 
Works of the Townsends described-Early iron works in Dutchess, Westchester, Put- 
nam, and Suffolk counties Development of the Champlain district about 1800 Early 
iron enterprises in other parts of New York-John Brinkerhoff-Erastus Corning-The 
Piersons at Ramapo Henry Burden and his inventions Pages 136-145 


The first iron works in New Jersey established at Tinton Falls, in Monmouth county, 
about 1674 The Leonards of Massachusetts Development of the magnetic ores of 
Northern New Jersey about 1710 at Whippany Early iron works at Morristown The 


Dickerson mine Many early iron works in Northern New Jersey described by Dr. 
Joseph F. Tuttle and Hon. Edmund D. Halsey Peter Hasenclever and the Ringwood 
Company Robert Erskine Lord Stirling, John Jacob Faesch, and others The Hiber- 
nia and Mount Hope furnaces The Fords Early iron works in Andover township 
in Sussex county Whitehead Humphreys Durham boats The Union Iron Works, and 
Oxford, Sterling, Ogden's, and Mount Holly furnaces William Allen and Joseph Tur- 
ner Early iron works in Southern New Jersey Batsto and Atsion furnaces Charles 
Read William, Jesse, and Samuel Richards Mark Richards, or Reichert Old Boonton 
slitting mill in the Revolution Benjamin and David Reeves The first rolling mill 
in New Jersey Peter Cooper, Abram S. Hewitt, and Frederick J. Slade Dr. Morse's de- 
scription of the iron industry of New Jersey in 1795 Pages 146-162 


Iron not made in Pennsylvania until after the arrival of William Penn in 1682 Penn 
encouraged the opening of iron and other mines First iron made in Pennsylvania 
experimentally before 1692, but at what place is not known The first historic iron 
works in Pennsylvania established by Thomas Rutter, an English Quaker, on the 
Manatawny, in Berks county, in 1716 Rutter's enterprise was a bloomary, probably 
called Manatawny Forge Coventry Forge, on French creek, in Chester county, built 
by Samuel Nutt, also an English Quaker, in 1717 or 1718, the second iron enterprise 
in Pennsylvania Colebrookdale Furnace, in Berks county, built by a company, of 
which Thomas Rutter was a member, about 1720, the third iron enterprise Thomas 
Potts, Jr. Pool Forge "A person named Kurtz "Durham Furnace built in 1727 
Other early iron enterprises in Eastern Pennsylvania established between 1725 and 
1750 In 1728 there were "four furnaces in blast in the colony "Reading Furnace 
on French creek William Branson Samuel Nutt, Jr. Benjamin Franklin invents 
the Franklin stove in 1742 Warwick Furnace The Vincent Steel Works The Wind- 
sor Forges John, David, and Robert Jenkins Mrs. Martha J. Nevin Valley Forge 
and its history The iron enterprises of William and Mark Bird Charming Forge- 
George Ege Oley Furnace A forge on Cram creek, in Delaware county, built about 
1742, by John Crosby and Peter Dicks, which "ruined Crosby's family" Sarura Iron 
Works built as early as 1742 John Taylor "A plating forge to work with a tilt-ham- 
mer" in Byberry township, Philadelphia county, in 1750 Two steel furnaces in Phila- 
delphia in 1750, and others built before the Revolution, Pages 163-178 



Elizabeth' Furnace, built in 1750 by John Huber, a German, the first iron enterprise in the 
present county of Lancaster Baron Stiegel one of its early owners Robert Coleman 
a later owner Pool Forge built by James Old about 1765 His other iron enter- 
prises Biographical sketches of James Old and Robert Coleman Cyrus Jacobs Peter 
Grubb builds Cornwall Furnace in 1742 His other iron enterprises His sons, Curtis 
and Peter Martic Furnace and Forge Hopewell and Speedwell forges The iron in- 
dustry crosses the Susquehanna as early as 1756, Pages 179-185 



In 1750 Pennsylvania was the most advanced of all the colonies in the manufacture of 
iron Cornwall, Warwick, and Reading furnaces were large structures for their day 
Description of these furnaces Also of the workmen employed at the early furnaces 
and forges of Pennsylvania The patriarchal character of early Pennsylvania iron- 
masters " Good old colony times," Pages 186-190 





First iron enterprises in the Lehigh Valley undertaken after 1800 William Henry's 
bloomary forge near Nazareth Hampton Furnace near Shimersville The Heim- 
bachs Samuel Helfrick and the Balliets A rolling mill built at South Easton by 
John Stewart and others in 1836 Bloomaries in Carbon county The Cheltenham 
Rolling Mill built in 1790 Benjamin Longstreth establishes the 'first iron enterprise 
at Phoenixville in 1790 Clemens Rentgen and his novel iron enterprises Early iron 
enterprises in Schuylkill county Federal Slitting MiU built by Isaac Pennock in 
1795 Brandywine Rolling Mill and its successor, the Lukens Rolling Mill Dr. Charles 
Lukens Mrs. Rebecca W, Lukens Mount Hope Furnace and other iron enterprises in 
Lancaster, Lebanon, and York counties The Reynolds family Early iron enterprises in 
Adams, Franklin, and Cumberland counties Thaddeus Stevens The Chambers broth- 
ersThe Haldeman family Michael Ege Early iron enterprises in Dauphin county 
and in the Upper Susquehanna Valley The Scrantons The enterprises of Karthaus 
& Geissenhainer in Clearfield county Other early iron enterprises in the Susque- 
hanna Valley The pack-horse days, Pages 191-203 




The Juniata Iron Company organized in 1767, but it did not make iron Joseph and 
Benjamin Jacobs Bedford Furnace, at Orbisonia, in Huntingdon county, built in 
1788, the first iron enterprise in the Juniata Valley Followed by Bedford Forge at 
the same place in 1791 Centre Furnace, in Centre county, the second in the Juniata 
Valley, built in 1791 by Col. John Patton and Col. Samuel Miles, both Revolutionary 
officers Other early iron enterprises in Centre county Roland Curtin Hardman Phil- 
ips erects a forge and screw factory at Philipsburg, in Centre county, in 1817 Bernard 
Lauth Barree Forge, on the Juniata, and Huntingdon Furnace, on Warrior's Mark 
run, built in 1794 and 1796 The Shoenbergers, Judge Gloninger, George Anshutz, and 
other early ironmasters in Huntingdon county and in the present county of Blair 
The Royers, Elias Baker, and Roland Diller Martin Bell Early iron enterprises in 
Bedford and Fulton counties Also in Mifflin and Juniata counties Freedom Forge, 
in Mifflin county, built before 1795 Hope Furnace, in the same county, built by Gen- 
eral William Lewis in 1798, who also built Moiint Vernon Forge, in Perry county, in 
1804 Other early iron works in Perry county Cemented steel made at Caledonia, 
near Bedford, before 1800 by William McDermett, whose daughter Josephine married 
David R. Porter, an ironmaster on Spruce creek, Huntingdon county, who afterwards 
became Governor of Pennsylvania Henry S. Spang, John Lyon, Anthony Shorb, An- 
drew Gregg, George Schmucker, and General James Irvin early Juniata ironmasters 
Juniata iron in high repute, Pages 204-212 



First mention in 1780 of iron ore in Western Pennsylvania John Hayden The Alliance 
Iron Works, on Jacob's creek, in Fayette county, built by WiUiam Turnbull, Peter 
Marmie, and Col. John Holker in 1789 and 1790, and consisting of a furnace and a 
forge, the first iron enterprise west of the Alleghenies The Alliance Furnace, which 
was put in blast on November 1, 1790, followed closely by Union Furnace, on Dunbar 
creek, in Fayette county, built by Isaac Meason in 1790, and put in blast in March, 
1791 Other early iron enterprises in Fayette county Jeremiah Pears The enterprises 
of John Hayden The Oliphants John Gibson The Brownsville Steel Factory, owned 
by Truman & Co., built before 1811 Jacob Bowman's Nail Factory, at Brownsville, 


built about 1795 The Plumsock Rolling Mill, in Fayette county, the first in the 
United States to roll bar iron and use puddling furnaces Isaac Meason and his son, 
Col. Isaac Meason An early iron enterprise in Greene county Early iron enterprises 
in Westmoreland county General Arthur St. Clair and Bishop John Henry Hopkins- 
Early iron enterprises in Somerset, Cambria, and Indiana counties George S. King 
The Cambria Iron Works commenced in 1853 Early iron enterprises in Beaver, Mer- 
cer, and Lawrence counties The Crawfords Early iron enterprises in other western 
and northwestern counties The Great Western Iron Works, Pages 213-224 



Beginning of the iron industry at Pittsburgh about 1792, when George Anshutz built a 
small blast furnace at Shady Side Proofs of the erection of this furnace, which was 
abandoned in 1794 The first iron foundry at Pittsburgh built by Joseph McClurg 
about 1805 The first nail factories in Pittsburgh, Porter's, Sturgeon's, and Stewart's, 
in operation in 1807, their united capacity being "about 40 tons of nails yearly" 
In 1810 "the manufacture of ironmongery" at Pittsburgh had "increased beyond all 
calculation "The first rolling mill at Pittsburgh built by Christopher Cowan in 1811 
Followed in 1819 by the Union Rolling Mill, on the Monongahela, which had four 
puddling furnaces, the first in Pittsburgh Other early rolling mills in Pittsburgh 
The first rolling mill in Allegheny City Clinton Furnace, in Pittsburgh, built by 
Graff, Bennett & Co. in 1859, the first successful furnace in Allegheny county Statis- 
tics of the iron and steel industries of Pennsylvania, Pages 225-232 


The Swedes and the Dutch on the Delaware did not make iron Iron Hill, in Pencader 
hundred, New Castle county, Delaware, discovered and so named as early as 1661 
The Colonial Records of Pennsylvania mention its existence in 1684 An account by 
Emanuel Swedenborg of early iron enterprises in New Castle county operated by 
Sir William Keith and others Abbington Furnace John Ball's bloomary forge Early 
iron enterprises in Sussex county Millsborough Furnace probably the last furnace 
operated in the State Rolling mills at Wilmington and in its vicinity, . Pages 233-239 


The first iron enterprise in Maryland was a bloomary forge, erected at the head of Ches- 
apeake Bay, in Cecil county, a short time before 1716 The iron enterprises of Ste- 
phen Onion & Co. and Joseph Farmer at North East and its vicinity Merged in the 
Principio Company, an English corporation This company built Principio Furnace, 
the first furnace in Maryland, in 1723 and 1724, and a forge at Principio in the same 
years Both probably at work in 1725 John England superintended their erection and 
their operations for many years The Principio Company, through Mr. England, 
builds a furnace on the lands of Captain Augustine Washington, in Virginia, in 1725 
and 1726 Further history of the Principio Company, which was for many years the 
leading iron company in America, and was active until the Revolution "A certain 
Mr. Washington "George P. Whitaker The Ridgely family The Dorseys The Snow- 
dens Early iron enterprises in Queen Anne, Frederick, and Washington counties 
The Johnsons The iron industry of Maryland greatly extended before the Revo- 
lution and also afterwards The Avalon Iron Works "built by the Dorseys" about 
1795 Development of the manufacture of coke pig iron in Western Maryland in 
1837 and immediately succeeding years The first heavy iron rails in the United 
States made at Mount Savage, in Western Maryland, in 1844 A bog-ore furnace on 
the Eastern Shore of Maryland in 1830 A furnace at Georgetown, D. C., built in 1849 
Government iron works at Washington, Pages 240-257 



Revival of the iron industry in Virginia about 1715 by Governor Spotswood and a colony 
of Palatinates The first furnace in Virginia built at Fredericksville, in Spottsylvania 
county, near the North Anna river The next furnace in Virginia built in Orange 
county, on the south side of the Rapidan An air furnace at Massaponax, five miles 
below Fredericksburg, on the Rappahannock Accokeek Furnace All these enterprises 
described by Col. William Byrd, the second, in 1732 Mr. W. H. Adams fixes the exact 
location of the first three of these enterprises The connection of the Washington 
family with the iron industry of Virginia and Maryland Extension of the iron in- 
dustry of Virginia into the Valley of Virginia Zane's Furnace and Forge, on Cedar 
creek, in Frederick county, were "built before any iron works in this region" Fol- 
lowed by Pine Forge, in Shenandoah county Henry Miller's furnace on Mossy creek, 
Augusta county, built about 1775 Other early iron works in the Valley of Virginia and 
in Southwestern Virginia Jefferson's account of the iron industry of Virginia in 1781 
and 1782 Ross's celebrated iron works Household industries in Virginia about 1790 
Great expansion of the charcoal iron industry of Virginia Many furnaces and forges 
enumerated by Lesley in 1856 The first rolling mill in Virginia built on Cheat river 
about 1812 by Jackson & Updegraff Wheeling a prominent iron centre before the 
civil war Its first rolling mill built by Dr. Peter Shoenberger and David Agnew in 
1832 The Tredegar Iron Company at Richmond Statistics of the iron and steel in- 
dustries of Virginia and West Virginia Pages 258-271 


Iron made in "Carolina" as early as 1728 and exported to England Virginia and Caro- 
lina hoes sold in New York before the Revolution Iron enterprises on tributaries of 
the Cape Fear, Yadkin, and Dan rivers before the Revolution That event stimulated 
the establishment of other iron enterprises in Guilford, Cleveland, and other coun- 
tiesBefore 1800 there were many iron enterprises in Lincoln, Stokes, and Surry 
counties After 1800 the iron industry was still further extended in Lincoln county, 
which had in 1810 six bloomaries, two rolling and slitting mills, and two naileries- 
It also became a prominent industry in Burke and Surry counties Extended into 
many counties before the civil war Bloomaries and the water-blast in general use 
The iron industry of North Carolina now almost extinct, Pages 272-275 


The first iron enterprise in South Carolina established in 1773 by Mr. Buffington in the 
northwestern part of the State Followed by other iron enterprises after the Revolu- 
tionThe Era and Etna furnaces and forges in York county The water-blast in use 
in this State Nine bloomaries and other iron enterprises in South Carolina in 1810 
A rolling mill for making sheet iron in this State about 1815 In 1840 there were four 
furnaces and a number of bloomaries, rolling mills, and other iron enterprises In 
1891 there was no iron or steel enterprise in South Carolina, Pages 276-278 


Georgia has no colonial iron history The first iron enterprises in this State established 
probably after 1790, and near the Atlantic Coast^-In 1810 there was a bloomary ii 
Warren county, a forge in Elbert county, and a nailery in Chatham county] 
and Sequee bloomaries, in Habersham county, built as early as 1830 and probably a 
an earlier day Other bloomaries established after 1830 in Bartow, Union, Murray, Walk- 
er, and Dade counties, and abandoned before 1856, but other bloomaries were then ii 
operation Sequee Furnace, in Habersham county, built before 1832, probably the first 


furnace in the State Etowah Furnace, in Bartow county ; Allatoona, Union, Lewis, 
and Cartersville furnaces in Cass county ; and Clear Creek Furnace, in Walker county 
Later charcoal furnaces Only six furnaces in 1891, two of which used coke The 
first rolling mill in Georgia was probably Etowah, in Cass county, built about 1849 
In 1891 there was only one rolling mill in the State Rising Fawn Furnace the first 
furnace in the United States to use the Whitwell hot-blast stove Description of the 
various Etowah iron enterprises as they existed about 1859 The iron industry of 
Georgia not now prominent, Pages 279-281 


Bourbon Furnace, often called Slate Furnace, the first iron enterprise in Kentucky whose 
history has been preserved, built in 1791, on Slate creek, in Bath county Complete 
history of this furnace by V. B. Young, Esq., of Owingsville, Kentucky Sketch of 
its projectors and builders In 1810 there were four furnaces and three forges in Ken- 
tuckyFirst furnaces in the Hanging Rock region of Kentucky built about 1817 and 
1818 Names of the Hanging Rock pioneers Extension of the iron industry in the 
Hanging Rock region The first rolling mill in Kentucky appears to have been built 
at Covington in 1829 Present condition of the Kentucky iron industry Many new 
iron and steel enterprises, Pages 282-287 


A bloomary at Embreeville, in Washington county, built in 1790, the first iron enterprise 
in Tennessee Other early enterprises in the eastern part of Tennessee Ross's Iron 
Works, on the Holston river, in Sullivan county, built before 1800 Other early iron 
enterprises in Tennessee built before and soon after 1800 Cumberland Furnace, in 
Dickson county, built by James Robinson in 1792 Yellow Creek Furnace, in Mont- 
gomery county, built in 1802 The iron industry of Tennessee greatly extended De- 
scription of the iron industry of this State in 1856 by Lesley Chattanooga the pres- 
ent iron centre of Tennessee Account of its early iron enterprises Bluff Furnace 
James Henderson The two Rockwood furnaces The Roane Iron Company Lewis 
Scofield S. B. Lowe The iron industries of Knoxville Present condition of the 
Tennessee iron industry, Pages 288-292 



The first furnace in Alabama probably built about 1818 west of Russellville, in Frank- 
lin county Abandoned in 1827 Early furnaces in Calhoun, Cherokee, and Shelby 
counties Horace Ware Early bloomaries in Shelby, Bibb, Talladega, and Calhoun 
counties Many of them blown with the trompe, or water-blast Iron enterprises in Ala- 
bama during the civil war Furnaces and rolling mills built at Brierfield and Shelby- 
Discovery of coal in Alabama The first iron enterprises at Birmingham and its vi- 
cinityLater iron and steel enterprises in Alabama Statistics of the production of 
pig iron in Alabama and other Southern States from 1880 to 1890 Wonderful progress 
in ten years, Pages 293-296 



The wonderful development of the iron industry of Western North Carolina and East 
Tennessee many years ago an interesting fact-Furnaces blown with one tuyere and 
wooden tubs " Thundergust forges" The trompe in general use Bar iron used as a 
medium of exchange Never many bloomaries in Virginia Old methods of making 
iron have passed away in the South, Pages 297-300 




Hopewell Furnace, in Mahoning county, the first iron enterprise in Ohio, commenced in 
1803 and finished in 1804 by Daniel Eaton Montgomery Furnace, built in 1806, also 
in Mahoning county, by Robert Montgomery and John Struthers, the second iron 
enterprise in the State The first hammered bars in Ohio made at a forge at Niles- 
town, Trumbull county, in 1809, by James Heaton, who also built a furnace at Niles- 
town 011 Mosquito creek about 1812 The iron industry of Ohio extended to the shore 
of Lake Erie about 1825 Rebecca Furnace, at New Lisbon, Columbiana county, built 
in 1807 or 1808 by Gideon Hughes Licking Furnace and Forge, near Zanesville, built 
by Moses Dillon about 1808 Early iron enterprises in Licking and Tuscarawas coun- 
ties The Zoar Community Early iron enterprises in Adams county Beginning of 
the manufacture of iron in the Hanging Rock region of Ohio The Hanging Rock 
pioneers, John Campbell, Thomas W. Means, and others Description by Mr. John 
Birkiiibine of Olive Furnace, a curious structure The good quality of Hanging Rock 
charcoal pig iron The old charcoal furnace of the Hecla Iron and Mining Com- 
panyEarly forges on the Ohio river The first rolling mill at Cincinnati Crucible 
steel works at Cincinnati built in 1832 Introduction of raw bituminous coal in the 
blast furnaces of the Mahoning Valley, first at Lowell, in 1846, by Wilkeson, Wilkes & 
Co. Introduction of Lake Superior ores in Ohio blast furnaces First shipments of 
Brier Hill coal to Cleveland made by David Tod in 1840 Mill Creek Furnace, the 
first iron enterprise at Youngstown, built about 1835 Beginning of the iron industry 
at Cleveland Henry Chisholm, Pages 301-313 


A "nailery" in Indiana Territory as early as 1810 In 1840 the census mentions a furnace 
in Jefferson county, one in Parke, one in Vigo, one in Vermillion, and three in 
Wayne county A bloomary forge in Fulton county also mentioned An early fur- 
nace in Monroe county An early forge in Marshall county built about 1845 by 
Charles Crocker and a partner Mishawaka Forge, in St. Joseph county Other char- 
coal iron enterprises in Indiana Development of the block-coal district of Indiana 
and the erection of furnaces to use this coal The first rolling mill in Indiana built 
by R. A. Douglas, at Indianapolis, in 1857 Present condition of the iron and steel in- 
dustries of Indiana, Pages 314-316 


Illinois Furnace, at Elizabethtown, in Hardin county, built in 1839, the first iron enter- 
prise in Illinois for the manufacture of iron of any kind No furnaces in opera- 
tion in Illinois from 1860 to 1868 Development of the Big Muddy coal fields and the 
erection of furnaces at Grand Tower and elsewhere in Southwestern Illinois Be- 
ginning of the iron industry at Chicago in 1857, when Captain E. B. Ward and others 
built the Chicago Rolling Mill The first furnaces in Chicago built in 1868 Present 
condition of the iron and steel industries of Illinois Pages 317-319 


Charcoal furnaces in Michigan before 1840 From 1840 to 1850 the iron industry of Mich- 
igan made no progress and possibly declined From 1850 to 1860 three bog-ore fur- 
naces were built in the southern part of the State The development of the Lake Su- 
perior iron-ore region commenced with the first discovery by white men of the iron 
ore of this region in 1844, near the eastern end of Teal Lake, by William A. Burt 
In 1845 the Jackson Mining Company was organized at Jackson, Michigan, and in 
1847 it commenced the erection of a forge on Carp river which was finished in 1848, 


and in that year the first iron made in the Lake Superior region was manufactured by 
Ariel N. Barney History of subsequent iron manufacturing enterprises in the Lake 
Superior region and of the development of the iron ores of Lake Superior The first 
use of Lake Superior iron ore in a blast furnace occurred in Mercer county, Pennsyl- 
vania, in 1853 History of the Sharon Iron Company which used this ore Statistics of 
the production of Lake Superior iron ore Captain E. B. Ward, .... Pages 320-328 


Prior to 1859 there were three charcoal furnaces in Wisconsin No others were built 
until 1865, when a charcoal furnace at Iron Ridge, in Dodge county, was built by 
the Wisconsin Iron Company, which was soon followed by several other furnaces 
Wisconsin had no rolling mill until 1868, when its first mill was built at Milwaukee 
by the Milwaukee Iron Company Present condition of the iron and steel industries 
of Wisconsin, Pages 329-331 


Ashebran's Furnace, on Stout's creek, about two miles east of Ironton, in Iron county, 
built about 1815, probably the first iron enterprise in Missouri Followed in 1819 or 
1820 by a bloomary forge on Thicketty creek, in Crawford county, built by William 
Harrison and Josiah Reeves Blooms hammered at this forge under a spring-pole 
hammer Springfield Furnace, in Washington county, built in 1823 or 1824 by Ever- 
sol, Perry & Ruggles, the next iron enterprise in Missouri Maramec Furnace, in 
Phelps county, finished in 1829 Development of the iron-ore deposits of Iron 
Mountain and Pilot Knob in 1836 and subsequent years Furnaces built in this re- 
gionCommencement of the iron industry of St. Louis in 1850 Further history and 
present condition of the iron and steel industries of Missouri, .... Pages 332-337 


Texas had one blast furnace before the civil war, located in Cass county Erection of 
other furnaces and of several bloomaries in Texas during the war Charcoal furnaces 
built in Texas after the war and in recent years The first rolling mills in this State 
built at Houston and at Fort Worth A promising iron future for Texas, Pages 338-340 


The first blast furnace in Minnesota commenced in 1872 but not finished until 1880 
Later iron enterprises in this State A bloomary built and in operation in Lawrence 
county, Arkansas, as early as 1857 Iron once made in Carroll county, Arkansas, in 
the hollow stumps of trees The undeveloped iron resources of Arkansas Early iron 
enterprises in Kansas, Iowa, and Nebraska The first iron enterprise in Colorado was 
a small charcoal furnace at Langford, in Boulder county, which was finished and 
put in blast in 1864 The first rolling mill in Colorado was removed in 1877 by Will- 
iam Faux from Danville, Pennsylvania, to Pueblo, and put in operation in 1878, the 
product being re-rolled rails Later iron and steel enterprises in Colorado A forge in 
Utah Territory, east of Salt Lake City, built as early as 1859, but the Mormons had 
made iron many years before Later but abortive iron enterprises, . . . Pages 341-345 



First furnace and rolling mill in California The iron and steel enterprises of California 
fully described The iron enterprises of Oregon and Washington, . . . Pages 346-347 




Description of the pioneer iron works in Canada, located near Three Rivers, in Quebec, 
and known as the Forges of St. Maurice Commenced in 1737, when a blast furnace 
was built which was in operation as late as 1883, Pages 348-351 


The distinctive charcoal era of the American iron industry ended about 1840, when both 
anthracite and bituminous coal began to be used successfully in blast furnaces 
More charcoal iron made in the United States to-day, however, than in 1840 or any 
preceding year Anthracite coal used experimentally in many American blast fur- 
naces between 1815 and 1840, generally in connection with charcoal Dr. Frederick 
W. Geissenhainer's experiments Granted a patent in 1833 for the use of anthracite 
coal in the blast furnace Builds Valley Furnace in 1836, and makes a feAV tons of 
pig iron exclusively with anthracite coal in the fall of that year George Crane's ex- 
periments with anthracite coal in the blast furnace in South Wales in the same 
year He successfully uses it in 1837 Visited in that year by Solomon W. Roberts, of 
Philadelphia, upon whose advice the Lehigh Crane Iron Company was organized- 
Mr. Crane's patents Details of various attempts in the United States to make pig 
iron with anthracite coal between 1836 and 1839 Pioneer Furnace, at Pottsville 
William Lyman Anthracite furnaces in 1840 First anthracite furnace in the Lehigh 
Valley built in 1839 and 1840 by David Thomas for the Lehigh Crane Iron Company 
Successfully blown in on July 3, 1840, and first cast made on July 4th Biographical 
sketch of Mr. Thomas Rapid growth after 1840 of the anthracite pig-iron industry 
The first use of anthracite coal in connection with the manufacture of finished iron 
in the United States dates from 1812 First used under boilers in 1825 and in puddling 
in 1827, at Phoenixville, by Jonah and George Thompson, Pages 352-365 


Remarkable that the use of bituminous coal in American blast furnaces should have been 
so long delayed Experiments in the use of coke in blast furnaces in this country all 
unsuccessful until 1835, when William Firmstone was successful in substituting coke 
for charcoal at Mary Ann Furnace, in Huntingdon county, Pennsylvania Sketch of 
his life F. H. Oliphant successful in making coke pig iron at Fairchance Furnace, 
in Fayette county, Pennsylvania, in 1837 Various unsuccessful experiments to use 
coke in blast furnaces in Pennsylvania-rSome successful experiments Henry C. 
Carey First notable success in this country in making pig iron with coke accom- 
plished at Lonaconing Furnace, in Western Maryland, in 1839, followed in 1840 by 
equal success at two furnaces of the Mount Savage Iron Company in the same part 
of Maryland Slow progress after 1840 in the use of coke in the blast furnace Its use 
increased after 1850, and very rapidly after 1865 First coke furnaces south of the 
Potomac The use of raw bituminous coal in the blast furnace successfully inaugu- 
rated in 1845 at Clay Furnace, in Mercer county, Pennsylvania, by Himrod & Vin- 
centThis was a charcoal furnace Mahoning Furnace, at Lowell, in Mahoning 
county, Ohio, the first furnace built expressly to use raw coal Successfully blown in 
in 1846 for its owners, Wilkeson, Wilkes & Co., by John Crowther Sketch of his 
life Water power in general use in blowing furnaces down to 1840, . . Pages 366-375 


The production of anthracite pig iron in the United States passes that of charcoal pig 
iron in 1855 Bituminous passes charcoal in 1869 Bituminous passes anthracite in 
1875 The production of pig iron in the United States in 1890 exceeded that of Great 
Britain in 1882, her year of greatest production, Pages 376-377 




Steel manufactured in a small way in several of the colonies both by the cementation 
process and "in the German manner" The first steel in the colonies probably made 
in Connecticut in 1728 by Samuel Higley and Joseph Dewey Steel made by Aaron 
Eliot, of Connecticut, in 1761, from bar iron which had been made from magnetic 
sand In 1750 Massachusetts had one steel furnace First steel made in New York in 
1776 by Peter Townsend New Jersey had one steel furnace in 1750 Pennsylvania 
had three steel furnaces in that year Condition of the American steel industry in 
1791, just one hundred years ago Slow growth of the steel industry of thfc United 
States Report on the state of the industry in 1831 by John R. Coates, of Philadel- 
phiaCast steel not then made in the United States From 1831 to 1860 the steel in- 
dustry of this country still continued to make slow progress Full details of the 
establishment at Cincinnati in 1832, by William and John H. Garrard, of the first 
successful crucible steel works in the United States Analysis of the crucible steel 
made at these works Statistics of the steel industry of Pennsylvania in 1850, with 
the names of all the manufacturers Pioneers in the manufacture of blister and cru- 
cible steel at Pittsburgh Hussey, Wells & Co., in 1860, and Park, Brother & Co., in 
1862, the first persons in the United States to meet with complete financial as well as 
mechanical success in the manufacture of crucible steel of the best quality Full 
history of the Adirondack Steel Works James R. Thompson McKelvy & Blair Sta- 
j tistics of the production of crucible steel in the United States, Pages 378-394 


Brief description of the Bessemer process Beginning of Sir Henry Bessemer's. experi- 
mentsPatents granted to him in England in 185 and 1856 Robert F. Mushet's 
invaluable assistance in perfecting the Bessemer process Bessemer's patents in the 
United States granted in 1856 William Kelly's claim of priority in 1857 conceded by 
the Commissioner of Patents Mr. Kelly's own account of his invention of the pneu- 
matic process His experiments with a converting vessel at Johnstown in 1857 and 
1858 Full account of Mr. Mushet's application of spiegeleisen to the Bessemer proc- 
essThe first Bessemer steel rail ever laid down was made by Mr. Mushet Sir 
Henry Bessemer's letter to Sir James Kitson in 1890 Sir Henry's immense profits 
from his invention Mr. Mushet's pathetic complaint Mr. Goran Fredrik Gorans- 
son's account of his part in perfecting the Bessemer process Invention of the basic 
process by Sidney Gilchrist Thomas, Percy C. Gilchrist, and George J. Snelus Also 
by Jacob Reese Experiments in the elimination of phosphorus by James Henderson 
and Colonel J. B. Kunkel The Clapp-Grimths and Robert-Bessemer processes Joseph 
Gilbert Martien's experiments Hon. Abram S. Hewitt's report on Bessemer steel at 
the Paris Exposition of 1867 Biographical sketches of Robert F. Mushet and Sidney 
G. Thomas Pages 395-408 


The Kelly patents controlled by a company Experimental Bessemer steel works built 
for this company at Wyandotte, Michigan, in 1863 and 1864, by William F. Durfee 
First Bessemer steel made in the United States by Mr. Durfee, in September, 1864 
Bessemer steel next made by A. L. Holley, in February, 1865, at experimental works 
built at Troy in 1864 by Winslow, Griswold & Holley Consolidation of the interests of 
the owners of the American patents of Bessemer, Mushet, and Kelly List of the 
Bessemer steel works built in the United States down to 1876 First Bessemer steel 
rails made in the United States were rolled at the Chicago Rolling Mill in May, 
1865 Statistics of the American and British Bessemer steel industries down to 1890 
Biographical sketches of deceased American Bessemer steel pioneers, . . Pages 409-417 



The open-hearth process briefly described Its advantages Invention of the Siemens re- 
generative gas furnace First patent granted to Frederick Siemens in 1856 Experiments 
by Dr. Charles William Siemens in 1861 in the manufacture of cast steel with regener- 
ative gas in an open-hearth Experiments by Emile and Pierre Martin in France in 
1864 Their principal patent granted in France in 1865 Subsequent operations of Dr. 
Siemens and the Martins Their different methods described Introduction of the 
regenerative furnace into the United States Names of the pioneers who first experi- 
mented in its use First open-hearth furnace in the United States built for Cooper, 
Hewitt & Co., at Trenton, New Jersey, in 1868, by Frederick J. Slade First use of the 
regenerative furnace in the United States in the puddling of iron Various direct 
processes The production of basic steel in the United StatesStatistics of its produc- 
tionAlso of the production of open-hearth steel in the United States and in Great 
Britain to the close of 1890 Biographical sketch of Dr. Siemens, .... Pages 418-425 


First railroads built in the United States The Quincy and Mauch Chunk railroads The 
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, commenced in 1828, the first in the United States that 
was built for the conveyance of passengers Put in operation from Baltimore to Elli- 
cott's Mills in 1830 Other early passenger railroads in the United States Description 
of the track of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Also of the rails first used on early 
American railroads Strap rails The Birkinshaw rail The Clarence rail The use of 
strap rails continued for many years Cast-iron rails once made in the United States- 
Heavy iron rails not made in the United States until 1844 First American T rails 
made at Mount Savage, Maryland, in that year The T rail an American invention 
Robert L. Stevens the inventor Full particulars of the invention The first 30-foot, 60- 
foot, and 120-foot rails rolled in the United States The first American locomotives- 
First street and elevated railroads in the United States Statistics of iron and steel 
rails in the United States Henry Thomas Weld, Pages 426-441 



Henry Hall's account of the first iron steamboats and steamships in the United States- 
Captain John Ericsson's iron vessels Other iron vessels Notable Transatlantic iron 
steamships built in the United States W. Cramp & Sons John Roach & Son Full 
and correct account of the construction and career of the iron-turreted .Monitor Wins- 
low & Griswold, iron manufacturers, took all the risks if it should prove to be a 
failure Theodore R. Timby Statistics of iron and steel shipbuilding in the United 
States down to 1891 Biographical sketch of John Ericsson, Pages 442-447 



Cut nails first made in the United States Shubal Wilder's account of early cut-nail 
machines Wire nails first made in the United States at New York in 1851 or 1852 
by William Hassall The American Wire Nail Company, at Covington, .Kentucky, the 
pioneer in this country in the manufacture of the standard wire nail Statistics of 
the production of cut nails and wire nails in the United States, .... Pages 448-451 


Interesting information concerning English and colonial pig iron in 1730 First applica- 
tion of the hot-blast in the United States made by William Henry in 1834 at Oxford 


Furnace, New Jersey Improvements in the hot-blast by Samuel Thomas and John 
Player First fire-brick hot-blast stoves in the United States Utilization of blast-fur- 
nace gases David Thomas introduces powerful blowing engines Good work by one 
of the Cooper furnaces at Phillipsburg, New Jersey, in 1850 Also by one of the Isa- 
bella furnaces near Pittsburgh Also by Furnace F of the Edgar Thomson works near 
Pittsburgh Also by Hinkle (charcoal) Furnace at Ashland, Wisconsin First coke 
furnace " banked up " in the United States Biographical sketches of Achilles Chris- 
tian Wilhelm von Faber du Faur and Christian Edward Detmold, . . . Pages 452-458 



First tinplates made in the United States Statistics of importations of tinplates into the 
United States from 1871 to 1890, Page 459 



Natural gas first used in the manufacture of iron in 1874 First bar iron rolled in New 
England The Phoenix wrought-iron column John Griffen's valuable contribution to 
rolling-mill economy in 1846 Good work by the Reading Steam Forge in 1856 De- 
scription of Park, Brother & Co.'s steam hammer, built in 1881 Description of the 
steam hammer of the Bethlehem Iron Company, completed in 1891 Slitting mills in 
the United States in 1884 The first wire suspension bridge in the United States- 
First wire fence in the United States Biographical sketches, Pages 460-466 


First mention of coal in the United States by Father Hennepin, who found it on the 
Illinois river in 1679 Discovered in Virginia in 1701 Discovered in Western Pennsyl- 
vaniaMines opened at Pittsburgh In Clearfield county, Pennsylvania Virginia 
mines the first worked in America First shipments of GtrmTTerland coal Discovered 
west of the Mississippi by Lewis and Clarke in 1804 Anthracite coal discovered in 
the Wyoming Valley in 1766 Discovered at Carbondale and other places in Eastern 
Pennsylvania Early experiments in its use Incorporation of the Lehigh Coal and Nav- 
igation Company First use of anthracite coal in smiths' forges and in dwelling houses 
Coal in Alabama first noticed in 1834 Beginning of the manufacture of Connells- 
ville coke Statistics of the production of coal in the United States, . . Pages 467-478 



Full extracts from various English and American writers and from British statutes to 
show that it was long the settled policy of the British Government to prevent the 
development of any manufacturing industries in the American colonies except those 
which produced raw materials suitable for further manufacture in Great Britain The 
colonial iron industry an especial object of unfriendly legislation, . . . Pages 479-493 




Depression in the American iron industry after the Revolution caused partly by low 
duties on competing foreign products Pennsylvania opposed to protecting her iron 
industry in 1785 Dr. Schoepf's account of the American iron industry in 1788 
Tariff legislation did not help the American iron industry until 1812, . . Pages 494-497 





Wages in the iron and steel industries of the United States higher than in Europe and 
Tjbe^cost of transportation of raw materials greater because the distances they must 
be transpofted^rc longer English testimony on these subjects Pages 498-501 




The father of George Washington a manufacturer of pig iron at Accokeek Furnace, in 
Virginia The two half-brothers of George Washington and other relatives were also 
pig-iron manufacturers Abraham Lincoln descended from Mordecai Lincoln, a na- 
tive of Hingham, Plymouth county, Massachusetts, who was one of the founders of 
the Bound Brook Iron Works, in Plymouth county, in 1703 Genealogy of the Lincoln 
family from Mordecai Lincoln to Abraham Lincoln, Pages 502-508 




Statistics of the production of iron and steel in the United States from 1810 to 1890 
Tables of prices of iron and steel in the United States from 1794 to 1890 Production 
of iron ore in the United States in 1880 and 1889 Pages 509-516 




Colonial exports of pig iron and bar iron from 1717 to 1776 Values of the imports and 
exports of iron and steel by the United States from 1871 to 1890, .... Pages 517-518 




, Production of pig iron and coal by Great Britain and Germany for a long series of years 
down to the close of 1890 The world's production of basic steel to the close of 1890 
The world's production of pig iron, steel, iron ore, and coal by countries in 1890 and 
other recent years Percentage of production by the United States, . . . Pages 519-524 



The people of the United States are the largest per capita consumers of iron and steel in 
the world Details of the more important uses of iron and steel, . . . Pages 525-531 


General review of the progress of the world's iron and steel industries in the last hun- 
dred years Also of the great progress in these industries made by the United States 
in the last thirty years Comparison of the present development of these industries 
in the United States with their condition at various periods during the last hundred 
years Pages 


Names of the iron and steel pioneers and other iron and steel manufacturers, Pages 541-554 

THE smith also sitting by the anvil, and considering the iron 
work, the vapour of the fire wasteth his flesh, and he fighteth with 
the heat of the furnace : the noise of the hammer and the anvil is 
ever in his ears, and his eyes look still upon the pattern of the 
thing that he maketh ; he setteth his mind to finish his work, and 
watcheth to polish it perfectly. Ecclesiasticus, 38, 28. 



THE use of iron can be traced to the earliest ages of 
antiquity. Copper and bronze, or brass, may have been used 
at as early a period as iron, and for many centuries after 
their use began they undoubtedly "superseded iron to a large 
extent, but the common theory that there was a copper or a 
bronze age before iron was either known or used is discred- 
ited by Old Testament history, by the earlier as well as the 
later literature of the ancient Greeks, and by the discoveries 
of modern antiquarians. 

In his inaugural address as President of the Iron and 
Steel Institute, delivered in May, 1885, Dr. John Percy, the 
eminent English metallurgist, briefly considered the ques- 
tion whether iron was or was not used before bronze. He 
said : "It has always appeared to me reasonable to infer 
from metallurgical considerations that the age of iron would 
have preceded the age of -bronze. The primitive method, 
not yet wholly extinct, of extracting iron from its ores is a 
much simpler process than that of producing bronze, and in- 
dicates a much less advanced state of the metallurgic arts. 
In the case of iron all that is necessary is to heat the ore 
strongly in contact with charcoal ; whereas, in the case of 
bronze, which is an alloy of copper and tin, both copper and 
tin have to be obtained by smelting their respective tores 
separately, to be subsequently melted together in due propor- 
tions, and the resulting alloy to be cast in moulds, requiring 
considerable skill in their preparation." 

Iron was doubtless first used in Western Asia, the birth- 

THE smith also sitting by the anvil, and considering the iron 
work, the vapour of the fire wasteih his flesh, and he fighteth with 
the heat of the furnace : the noise of the hammer and the anvil is 
ever in his ears, and his eyes look still upon the pattern of the 
thing that he maketh ; he setteth his mind to finish his work, and 
watcheth to polish it perfectly. Ecclesiasticus, 38, 28. 



THE use of iron can be traced to the earliest ages of 
antiquity. Copper and bronze, or brass, may have been used! 
at as early a period as iron, and for many centuries after 
their use began they undoubtedly superseded iron to a large 
extent, but the common theory that there was a copper or a 
bronze age before iron was either known or used is discred- 
ited by Old Testament history, by the earlier as well as the 
later literature of the ancient Greeks, and by the discoveries 
of modern antiquarians. 

In his inaugural address as President of the Iron and 
Steel Institute, delivered in May, 1885, Dr. John Percy, the 
eminent English metallurgist, briefly considered the ques- 
tion whether iron was or was not used before bronze. He 
said : "It has always appeared to me reasonable to infer 
from metallurgical considerations that the age of iron would 
have preceded the age of -bronze. The primitive method, 
not yet wholly extinct, of extracting iron from its ores is a 
much simpler process than that of producing bronze, and in- 
dicates a much less advanced state of the metallurgic arts. 
In the case of iron all that is necessary is to heat the ore 
strongly in contact with charcoal ; whereas, in the case of 
bronze, which is an alloy of copper and tin, both copper and 
tin have to be obtained by smelting their respective tores 
separately, to be subsequently melted together in due propor- 
tions, and the resulting alloy to be cast in moulds, requiring 
considerable skill in their preparation." 

Iron was doubtless first used in Western Asia, the birth- 


place of the human race, and in the northern parts of Africa 
which are near to Asia. Tubal-cain, who was born in the 
seventh generation from Adam, is described in King James's 
version of the 4th chapter of Genesis t as "an instructor of 
every artificer in brass and iron." In the revised version, 
which appeared in 1885, he is described as "the forger of 
every cutting instrument of ]prass and iron." The Egyptians, 
whose existence as a nation dates from the second genera- 
tion after Noah, and whose civilization is the most ancient of 
which we have any exact knowledge, were at an early peri- 
od familiar with both the use and the manufacture of iron, 
although very little iron ore has ever been found within the 
boundaries of Egypt itself. Iron tools are mentioned by He- 
rodotus as having been used in the construction of the pyr- 
amids. In the sepulchres at Thebes and Memphis, cities of 
.such great antiquity that their origin is lost -in obscurity, 
butchers are represented as using tools the colors of which 
lead antiquarians to conclude that they were made of iron 
or steel. Iron sickles are also pictured in the tombs at 
Memphis. At Thebes numerous articles of iron have been 
found which are preserved by the New York Historical So- 
ciety and are about three thousand years old. They include 
an iron helmet, with a neck-guard in chain armor ; a frag- 
ment of a breastplate, made of pieces of iron in the form of 
scales, one of which takes the shape of a cartouche and has 
stamped thereon the name of the Egyptian king, Shishak, 
who invaded Jerusalem 971 years before Christ ; and an iron 
arrow-head. A war-club, studded with iron spikes, and an 
iron instrument with a wooden handle, both found at Sakka- 
rah, in Egypt, are in the same collection, which was made by 
Dr. Henry Abbott, an English surgeon, during a residence of 
twenty years in Cairo, where he died on March 30, 1859. 

Thothmes the First, who is supposed to have reigned 
about seventeen centuries before Christ, is said, in a long in- 
scription at Karnak, to have received from the chiefs, trib- 
utary kings, or allied sovereigns of Lower Egypt presents of 
silver and gold, " bars of wrought metal, and vessels of cop- 
per, and of bronze, and of iron." From the region of Mem- 
phis he received wine, iron, lead, wrought metal, animals, and 
other products. An expedition which the same king sent 



against Chadasha brought back among the spoil which it 
had taken " iron of the mountains, 40 cubes." 

Belzoni found under the feet of one of the sphinxes at 
Karnak an iron sickle which is supposed to have been placed 
there at least six hundred years before Christ. In 1837 a 
piece of iron was taken from an inner joint of the great 
pyramid at Gizeh under circumstances which justify the 
theory that it is as old as the pyramid itself. Both of these 
relics are preserved in the British Museum. The reference to 
iron in Deuteronomy, iv. 20, apparently indicates that in the 
time of Moses the Egyptians were engaged in its manufac- 
ture, and that the Israelites were at least as familiar with the 
art as their taskmasters. " But the Lord hath taken you, 
and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, even out of 
Egypt." This expression is repeated in 1st Kings, viii. 51. 
A small piece of very pure iron was found under the obelisk 
which was removed from Alexandria to New York in 1880 
by Commander H. H. Gorringe, of the United States Navy. 
This obelisk was erected by Thothmes the Third at Heliopo- 
lis about 1600 years before Christ, and removed to Alexandria 
twenty-two years before the Christian era. The iron found 
under it was therefore at least 1900 years old. Commander 
Gorringe died in New York city on July 7, 1885. 

As iron ore of remarkable richness is now found in Al- 
geria, in the northern part of Africa, occupying the territory 
of ancient Carthage, it is entirely reasonable to suppose that 
the Carthaginians, nearly a thousand years before Christ, and 
the Libyans and other native inhabitants whom the Cartha- 
ginians succeeded, would not be behind their Egyptian cotem- 
poraries in a knowledge of the use and manufacture of iron. 
The Libyans were a highly civilized people. It is certain 
that the iro'n mines of Algeria were worked by the Romans 
before the Christian era. The native tribes in the interior of 
Africa have long made iron by the most primitive methods. 

The development in modern times of the rich iron ores of 
Algeria is a most interesting historical fact, as the Algerian 
mines are the only mines of iron ore in either Asia or Africa 
which are now operated on an extensive scale, and the only 
mines worthy of mention on either continent from which the 
iron and steel works of Europe and America draw a part of 


their supplies of ore. The present extensive development of 
the Algerian iron-ore mines dates from about 1844. All the 
iron ore that is mined is exported. In 1872 the shipments 
from these mines to European countries, especially to France, 
had greatly increased. In that year the total production of 
the mines was nearly 400,000 tons. The total production in 
1886 was 492,936 tons. 

Iron ore is supposed to have been mined in Morocco long 
before the beginning of the Carthaginian rule in Northern 
Africa, and it is said that old Mauritanian iron-ore mines can 
yet be traced at the foot of the Djebel Hadyd, a few miles 
from Mogadore, on the Atlantic coast. 

The use of iron and the art of manufacturing it were in- 
troduced into the southern and western portions of Arabia 
at an early day, and this may have been done by the Egyp- 
tians ; it is at least fully established that some of their own 
works were located east of the Red sea. The ruins of exten- 
sive iron works of great antiquity and of undoubted Egyp- 
tian origin were discovered by Mr. Hartland near the Wells 
of Moses, in the Sinaitic peninsula, about 1873. They are 
fully described by St. John V. Day, in his Prehistoric Use 
of Iron and Steel. Large heaps of iron cinder, -very rich in 
iron, are found near the works. The " iron furnace", from 
which the Israelites were brought forth may have embrac- 
ed these works. The countries which lie south of Egypt are 
supposed by some antiquarian writers to have made iron in 
large quantities in prehistoric times. 

Iron was known to the Chaldeans, the Babylonians, and 
the Assyrians, who were cotemporaries of the early Egyp- 
tians. Some writers suppose that the Egyptians derived their 
supply of iron principally from these Asiatic neighbors and 
from the Arabians. Ornaments of iron have been found in 
Chaldean ruins, and Chaldean inscriptions show that iron w r as 
known to the most ancient inhabitants of Mesopotamia. In 
the ruins of Nineveh the English antiquarian, Layard, found 
many articles of iron and various inscriptions referring to its 
use. Among the articles discovered by him were iron scales 
of armor, from two to three inches in length. " Two or three 
baskets were filled with these relics." He also found " a per- 
fect helmet of iron, inlaid with copper bands." In the Brit- 


ish Museum several tools of iron are preserved which were 
found at Nineveh by Layard, including a saw and a pick. 
The art of casting bronze over iron, which has only recently 
been introduced into modern metallurgy, was known to the 
Assyrians. At Babylon iron was used in the fortifications of 
the city just previous to its capture by Cyrus, in the sixth 
century before Christ. In a celebrated inscription Nebuchad- 
nezzar declares : " With pillars and beams plated with copper 
and strengthened with iron I built up its gates." The huge 
stones of the bridge built by his daughter Nitocris were held 
together by bands of iron fixed in place by molten lead. 

The Book of Job, which relates to a patriarchal period be- 
tween Abraham and Moses, contains many references to iron, 
even to "bars of iron," "barbed irons," "the iron weapon," 
and the " bow of steel." In the 19th chapter and 24th verse 
the "iron pen," which could be used to engrave upon a rock, 
is mentioned. In the 20th chapter and 24th verse iron and 
steel are both mentioned, showing that in the time of Job the 
two metals were both in use. " He shall flee from the iron 
1 weapon, and the bow of steel shall strike him through." In 
the 28th chapter and 2d verse it is declared that " iron is 
taken out of the earth." Job is supposed to have lived in 
the northern part of Arabia, in the land of Uz, which was 
separated by the Euphrates from Ur of the Chaldees, where 
Abraham was born. Iron ore of remarkable richness is said 
to be still found between the Euphrates and the Tigris. 

Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt fifteen or 
sixteen hundred years before the Christian era. In the story 
of their wanderings iron is frequently mentioned. When the 
Israelites spoiled the Midianites they took from them iron 
and other metals. "An instrument of iron" is mentioned in 
Numbers, xxxv. 16. Canaan, the land of promise, is described 
by Moses in Deuteronomy, viii. 9, as " a land whose stones 
are iron." Iron is said to be still made in small quantities 
in the Lebanon mountains. In Deuteronomy, xxvii. 5, 6, 
and in Joshua, viii. 31, the use of iron tools in building an 
altar of "whole stones" to the Lord is prohibited, which 
shows that the Israelites in the days of Moses not only pos- 
sessed a knowledge of iron tools which would cut stone, but 
that the Egyptians, from whom they had recently separated, 


must have possessed the same knowledge. In Deuteronomy, 
xxviii. 48, a "yoke of iron" is mentioned. 

After the Israelites came into possession of Canaan iron 
is frequently mentioned in their history, some of the earliest 
references being to chariots of iron, which the Canaanites 
used in their wars with them, and to various agricultural im- 
plements and other tools of iron and to iron weapons of war. 
The references to chariots of iron in Joshua, xvii. 16, and in 
Judges, i. 19, and iv. 3, show that the Canaanites were far 
advanced in the military art. In the elaborate description of 
the armor of Goliath it is said that " his spear's head weighed 
six hundred shekels of iron." Axes and saws and harrows of 
iron are mentioned in the reign of David, and axes and ham- 
mers and tools of iron are mentioned in the reign of Solo- 
mon. In Proverbs, xxvii. 17, Solomon speaks of one use of 
iron which shows that knives must have been made of it in 
his day. " Iron sharpeneth iron ; so a man sharpeneth the 
countenance of his friend." We read also in Ecclesiastes, x. 
10 : " If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then 
must he put to more strength." When David, about a thou- ' 
sand years before the Christian era, made preparations for 
the building of the temple he " prepared iron in abundance 
for the nails for the doors of the gates and for the joinings ; " 
and in his instructions to Solomon concerning it he said that 
he had prepared " brass and iron without weight," and that 
" of the gold, the silver, and the brass, and the iron, there is 
no number." When Solomon came to build the temple he 
sent to Hiram, king of Tyre, for " a man cunning to work in 
gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in iron." The Phoeni- 
cians were celebrated as workers in all the metals, and Tyre 
was their great city. Isaiah speaks of harrows of iron, and 
in the 34th verse of the 10th chapter iron axes are clearly 
referred to. "And he shall cut down the thickets of the for- 
ests with iron." Jeremiah speaks of "an iron pillar." In 
Amos we read of " threshing instruments of iron." 

The great strength of iron is frequently referred to in 
the Old Testament. In Psalms, ii. 9, we read : " Thou shalt 
break them with a rod of iron ; " in cvii. 10, we read of those 
who sit in darkness as " being bound in affliction and iron ; " 
in cxlix. 8, we read also of binding " kings with chains, and 


their nobles with fetters of iron." Daniel says that " iron 
breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things." 

Some writers have contended that the word which is 
translated iron in the Old "Testament frequently means some 
other metal. It is a sufficient answer to this criticism to say 
that the translators of King James's version and of the re- 
vised version of 1885 agree in nearly every instance in their 
use of the word iron ; but to this agreement of learned men 
three hundred years apart the yet more significant fact may 
be added that iron is frequently mentioned in the Old Tes- 
tament in connection with other metals. In addition to the 
quotations already given sustaining this statement the reader 
is referred to Deuteronomy, xxviii. 23 ; 1st Chronicles, xxix. 2 
and 7 ; Isaiah, xlv. 2, and Ix. 17 ; Ezekiel, xxii. 20, and xxvii. 
12. It may also be added that in Martin Luther's translation 
of the Old Testament into German he always uses the word 
eisen wherever the word iron appears in English translations. 

In Jeremiah, xv. 12, the question is asked by the proph- 
et : " Shall iron break the northern iron and the steel ? " The 
northern iron and steel here referred to were probably prod- 
ucts of Chalybia, a small district of Armenia, lying on the 
southeastern shore of the Black sea, the inhabitants of which, 
called Chalibees or Chalybians, were famous in the days of 
Asiatic pre-eminence for the fine quality of their iron and 
steel. Herodotus, in the fifth century before Christ, speaks of 
" the Chalybians, a people of ironworkers." They are said to 
have invented the art of converting iron into steel, but it is 
probable that, as they used magnetic sand, which is very free 
from impurities and is easily smelted in small quantities, 
they made steel mainly. Latin and Greek names for steel 
were derived from the name of this people. From the same 
source we obtain the words now in common use, chalybean 
and chalybeate. 

Other eastern nations doubtless made steel at as early a 
day as the Chalybians. In Ezekiel, xxvii. 12, the merchants 
of Tarshish are said to supply Tyre with iron and other met- 
als, and in the 19th verse of the same chapter the merchants 
of Dan and Javan are said to supply its market with bright 
iron. Tarshish is supposed to have been a city in the south 
of Spain, and Dan and Javan were possibly cities in the . south 


of Arabia. The name Tarshish may, however, have referred 
generally to the countries lying on the western shore of the 
Mediterranean and beyond the Pillars of Hercules. Dan and 
Javan may have supplied iron made in the southern part of 
Arabia, or they may have traded in the bright iron, or steel, 
of India. The period embraced in the references quoted from 
Ezekiel was about six hundred years before Christ. Both 
Tyre and Sidon traded in all the products of the east and 
the west for centuries before and for some 'time after Ezekiel, 
and iron was one of the products which they supplied to their 
neighbors, the Israelites. 

The Persians and their northern neighbors, the Medes, 
made iron and steel long before the Christian era, and so did 
the Parthians and other Scythian tribes. The Parthian ar- 
row was first tipped with bronze, but afterwards with steel. 
The Parthian kings are said to have engaged with pride in 
the forging and sharpening of arrow-heads. Herodotus says 
that an " antique iron sword " was planted on the top of the 
mount of worship used by the Scythians. Iron is still made 
in Persia by primitive methods, and so also is steel, but both 
in small quantities. 

India appears to have been acquainted with the manufac- 
ture of iron and steel from a very early period. Day says 
that in the British Museum are iron and steel tools, probably 
three thousand years old, which were found in recent Indian 
excavations. Ktesias, a Greek, who lived 400 years before 
Christ, mentions Indian iron. When Alexander defeated Po- 
rus, one of the Punjaub kings, in the fourth century before 
the Christian era, Porus gave him thirty pounds of Indian 
steel, or wootz. This steel, which is still made in India and 
Persia, was a true steel, of a quality unsurpassed even in our 
day. It was and still is manufactured by a process of great 
simplicity, similar to that by which crucible steel is now 
made. Ages ago the city of Damascus manufactured its fa- 
mous swords from Indian and Persian steel. Swords are still 
made at Damascus, but of inferior quality. The cutlers of 
India, however, now make the best of swords from native 
steel. George Thompson told Wendell Phillips that he saw 
a man in Calcutta throw a handful of floss silk into the air 
which a Hindoo cut into pieces with his sabre. 


The people of India further appear to have become fa- 
miliar at an early period in their history with processes for 
the manufacture of iron on a large scale which have since 
been lost. A cylindrical wrought-iron pillar, which weighs 
many tons, is now standing at the principal gate of the an- 
cient mosque of the Kutub, near Delhi, in India. A highly 
ornamented capital forms the upper part of the pillar. An 
inscription in Sanscrit is usually supposed to assign the erec- 
tion of the pillar to the fourth century of the Christian era. 
In the ruins of Indian temples of great antiquity there have 
been found wrought-iron beams similar in size and appear- 
ance to those used in the construction of buildings at the 
present time. These iron beams are fully described by Day. 
Two American scientists have visited in recent years the 
iron pillar at Delhi, and have favored us with their impres- 
sions concerning it Mr. John C. F. Randolph, of New York 
city, visiting it in 1874, and Dr. Frank Cowan, of Greens- 
burg, Pennsylvania, in 1884. Mr. Randolph says : " I sought 
to obtain a few grains of the metal for analysis, but it com- 
pletely dulled two cold chisels worked by my servant, with- 
out producing any marks on the base of the pillar." Dr. 
Cowan circumstantially describes the pillar as follows : " The 
iron pillar is a polished and inscribed, cylindrical and taper- 
ing, shaft of metal, surmounted with a capital which con- 
sists of a series of beveled rims one above the other ; and, 
as it has been found to be by measurement, it has a total 
height of 23 feet and 8 inches, about 22 feet and 6 inches of 
which are above the ground and 14 inches below, and a di- 
ameter below of 16.4 inches and above of 12.05 inches. The 
capital is about 3 feet long." 

The period at which China first made iron is uncertain, 
but great antiquity is claimed for its manufacture in that 
mysterious country. Iron is mentioned in a Chinese record 
which is said to have been written two thousand years be- 
fore Christ, and in other ancient Chinese writings iron and 
steel are both mentioned. Pliny the Elder, writing in the 
first century of the Christian era, thus speaks of the iron of 
the Seres, which is the Latin name for the people of China : 
j" Howbeit, as many kinds of iron as there be, none shall 
1 match in goodness the steel that cometh from the Seres, for 


this commodity also, as hard ware as it is, they send and 
sell with their soft silks and fine furs. In a second degree 
of goodness may be placed the Parthian iron." This early 
reference to Chinese steel is historically very valuable. 

Iron is supposed to have been made in small quantities 
in Japan and Corea in ancient times. It is now made by 
primitive methods in both these countries and in China, al- 
though modern methods have been attempted in both China 
and Japan. The remarkable skill and taste of the Japanese 
metal-workers in modern times, including their production 
of swords of the finest temper and keenest edge and other ar- 
ticles of iron and steel, is well known and is a constant mar- 
vel to the people of other countries. The Chinese and the 
Coreans are also noted for their skill as armorers and in the 
manufacture of various domestic utensils of iron and steel. 

Further inquiry in these pages into the evidences of the 
use of iron by the oldest nations of antiquity is unnecessary. 
It may be assumed as susceptible of abundant proof that 
the knowledge of the use of iron was common to the people 
of Asia and of Northern Africa long prior to the Christian 
era. The Egyptians and their immediate neighbors in Asia, 
and the Libyans and others in Africa, probably made iron 
long before the days of Moses. The Phoenicians would carry 
the art of making iron to their own great colony, Carthage, 
which was founded as early at least as the ninth century 
before Christ, and to all the colonies and nations inhabiting 
the northern and southern and western shores of the Medi- 
terranean. Phoenician and Carthaginian merchants obtained 
iron from such western countries as Morocco and Spain, and 
possibly even from India and China in the east, as well as 
from nearer sources. But in time the merchants of Tyre 
and the ships of Tarshish deserted the places that long had 
known them ; empire after empire fell in ruins ; and with the 
fading away of Asiatic and African civilization and mag- 
nificence the manufacture and the use of iron in Asia and 
Africa ceased to advance. Egypt has certainly not made 
iron for about two thousand years, and probably no more 
iron is made in all Asia to-day than was made in its borders 
twenty-five centuries ago, when Babylon was " the glory of 
kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency." 



THE authentic history of the use of iron in Europe does 
not begin until about the period of the first Olympiad, cor- 
responding to the year 776 before the Christian era, although 
Grecian poetry and the fables of the Grecian heroic age have 
transmitted to us many references to iron long prior to that 
period. Authentic Grecian history itself does not begin until 
the first Olympiad. 

One of the earliest of Grecian fables tells of the hurling 
of Hephaestus, or Vulcan, the Greek god of fire, from Olym- 
pus by Jupiter, and of his falling upon the island of Lem- 
iios, where he established iron forges, afterwards forging the 
armor of Achilles and the weapons of Hercules. About the 
time of Moses, fifteen or sixteen centuries before Christ, the 
Phoenicians are said to have introduced into Greece the art 
of working in iron and other metals. Minos, king of Crete, is 
said to have been indebted to them for the tools w r hich ena- 
bled him to build his powerful fleet. In the fifteenth centu- 
ry before Christ the burning of the forests on Mount Ida, in 
Crete, is said to have accidentally communicated to the inhab- 
itants the art of obtaining iron from native ores. This dis- 
covery enabled the Ideei Dactyli, who were priests of Cybele, 
to introduce the manufacture of iron and steel into Phrygia, 
a Greek colony in Asia Minor. 

So read some of the stories which have come down to us 
from the heroic age of Greece, all of which may be wholly 
fabulous, but there is nothing improbable in the conclusion 
which may be derived from them, that they point to a very 
early use of iron by the Greeks. From Phoenicia certainly, 
and probably also from Egypt, they would be likely to de- 
rive some knowledge of its use in the mechanic arts about 
a thousand years before Christ. It is worthy of notice that 
the mythologies of both Greece and Egypt attributed the in- 
vention of the art of manufacturing iron to the gods, a fact 
which of itself may be regarded as affording sufficient proof 


of the great antiquity of the art in both of these countries. 
The poems of Homer, who is supposed to have lived 
about 850 years before the Christian era, and therefore be- 
fore the period of authentic Grecian history, make frequent 
mention of iron. The art of hardening and tempering steel 
is fully described in the reference to the plunging of the fire- 
brand of Ulysses into the eye of Polyphemus, an act which is 
likened to that of the smith who " plunges the loud-hissing 
axe into cold water to temper it, for hence is the strength of 
iron." It would appear, however, from the offer by Achilles 
of a " mass of iron, shapeless from the forge," as a prize at 
the funeral games of Patroclus, that iron was not abundant in 
Greece at the time of the Trojan war, nor in the days of Ho- 
mer himself. Troy fell in the year 1184 before the Christian 
era. Dr. Schliemann has found no traces of iron in its ruins. 
The address of Achilles to the Greeks when offering the prize 
indicates how valuable iron was to them in the heroic age. 

Stand forth, whoever will contend for this ; 
And if broad fields and rich be his this mass 
Will last him many years. The man who tends 
His flocks, or guides his plow, need not be sent 
To town for iron : he will have it here. 

When Pisander and Hippolochus begged Agamemnon to 
save their lives they offered him as ransom the " treasures " 
in the houses of Antimachus, their father, " brass, gold, and 
well-wrought iron." Homer mentions steel axes as valuable 
prizes to be contended for .in the Grecian games, and he also 
mentions steel weapons of war, although rarely. He speaks 
again of some iron as being bright and white, the inference 
being that steel is referred to. The Right Honorable William 
E. Gladstone, in his Homeric Synchronisms, says : " Iron is in 
Homer extremely rare and precious. He mentions nothing 
massive that is made of this material." Mr. Gladstone cites a 
number of references in Homer to iron and steel the arrow- 
head of Pandaros, the dagger of Achilles, " the cutting tool 
of the chariot-maker for such fine work as shaping the felloe 
of the wheel," a knife for slaying oxen, and axes and adzes 
of steel. 

Hesiod, who is supposed to have been cotemporary with 
Homer, mentions iron and some of its important qualities. 


He uses the phrases, bright iron and black iron. Lycur- 
gus, who is supposed to have lived about the time of Homer 
and Hesiod, is said to have required the Spartans to use iron 
as money ; he " allowed nothing but bars of iron to pass in 
exchange for every commodity." These bars, for which iron 
rings or quoits were afterwards substituted, may have been 
made from the iron ores which were found in abundance in 
Laconia, or they may have been obtained abroad. 

We come next to that period of Grecian history which 
introduces us to historical personages and historical events. 
The iron ores of Elba were worked by the Greeks as early as 
the year 700 before Christ. They called the island JSthalia, 
" from the blazes of the iron works." The working of the 
ores of this island is mentioned by Herodotus, who lived in 
the fifth century before Christ ; by Diodorus, a Sicilian his- 
torian of the first century before Christ ; and by Strabo, a 
Greek traveler and geographer, who lived at the beginning of 
the Christian era. The Phoenicians made iron on the island 
of Euboea at a very early day, and the Greeks afterwards fol- 
lowed the same pursuit on the same island. Strabo speaks 
of the mines of Eubcea as being partially exhausted in his 
day. In Bceotia, on the mainland of Greece, iron was also 
made in very early times, and probably in other parts of the 
Grecian mainland and on the Grecian islands where iron ore 
is now found. .On the island of Seriphos the ore is so rich 
that many cargoes of it have been exported to the United 
States and Great Britain in recent years. 

Herodotus speaks of iron heads to lances and arrows in 
his day. He also mentions a silver bowl inlaid with iron, 
the work of Glaucus the Chian, which Alyattes dedicated at 
Delphi about the middle of the sixth century before Christ. 
Chalybian steel was imported into Greece in' the time of He- 
rodotus ; and in the time of Aristotle, who lived a century 
later, the Greeks were themselves familiar with the manufac- 
ture of steel. Sophocles, who died in the year 406 before 
Christ, speaks of the tempering of iron in water. The man- 
ufacture of swords of steel about this time received much 
attention in Greece, as it did elsewhere. The father of De- 
mosthenes was a manufacturer of arms, and probably of steel 
swords, in the fourth century before Christ. Iron and steel 


weapons began to displace those of bronze in most Mediter- 
ranean countries soon after the battle of Marathon, which was 
fought in the year 490 before Christ. When Xerxes invaded 
Greece, ten years after the battle of Marathon, the Assyrians 
in his army carried wooden clubs " knotted with iron." The 
use of iron scythes as well as iron sickles was common among 
the Greeks about this time. Dr. Schliemann says that iron 
was known to the Myceneans, whose capital city, Mycense, 
was destroyed in the year 468 before Christ. In the fourth 
century before Christ Alexander is said by Pliny to have 
strengthened a bridge over the Euphrates, at Zeugma, with 
a chain made of links of iron. 

Daimachus, a writer who was cotemporary with Alexan- 
der, enumerates four different kinds of steel and their uses, 
the Chalybdic, Synopic, Lydian, and Lacedaemonian. Each 
kind of steel was adapted to the manufacture of particular 
tools. From the Chalybdic and Synopic were made ordi- 
nary tools ; from the Lacedaemonian were made files, augers, 
chisels, and stone-cutting implements ; and from the Lydian 
were made swords, razors, and surgical instruments. The ac- 
counts left by this writer and by other writers indicate great 
proficiency in the use of steel by the Greeks, and the posses- 
sion by them of much skill in its manufacture. 

A few years ago some peasants, digging near the banks 
of the Danube, on the Hungarian side, opposite to Belgrade, 
turned up a very beautiful and finely preserved iron or steel 
helmet, which is believed to be a specimen of antique Greek 
work, dating from probably three or four centuries before 
the Christian era. It was found in the midst of wind-blown 
hillocks, or dunes, of dry, shifting sand ; hence probably its 
excellent state of preservation. The helmet is light and thin, 
but by no means flimsy or unsubstantial. At the country 
house of Mr. G. P. Morosini, at Biverdale, on the Hudson 
river, in New York, is a costly collection of arms and armor 
from the wars of long ago, which includes a Greek helmet 
dating back hundreds of years before Christ. It has rusted 
through in two places, and looks now like old sheet iron. 

A description of one of the naval monsters constructed by 
Archimedes for Hiero, king of Syracuse, about the middle of 
the third century before the Christian era, shows the great 


extent to which the use of iron had then been carried by the 
Greeks. " To each of the three masts was attached a couple 
of engines which darted iron bars and masses of lead against 
the enemy. The sides of the ship bristled with iron spikes, 
designed to protect it against boarding ; and on all sides were 
likewise grapples which could be flung by machines into the 
galleys of the foe. The ship was supplied with twelve anch- 
ors, of which four were of wood and eight of iron." 

According to accepted chronology Rome was built in the 
year 753 before the Christian era. It reached the culmina- 
tion of its power about the end of the first century of that era. 
The period from its foundation to the beginning of its de- 
cline embraced about nine hundred years. During the first 
part of this period Rome was favored with the experience of 
older nations in the use and manufacture of iron, and during 
the last part of it she greatly contributed by her energy and 
progressive spirit to extend its use and increase its produc- 
tion. The Greeks were the great teachers of the Romans in 
all the arts, including metallurgy ; but the Etruscans, who 
were neighbors of the Romans, and by whom they were in 
time supplanted, also contributed greatly to their knowledge 
of the arts of ancient civilization. The Etruscans, however, 
owed their civilization in large part to the Tyrrhenian Greeks, 
with whom they coalesced centuries before Rome was found- 
ed. Etruria was largely devoted to commerce, and among the 
countries with which it traded were Phoenicia and Carthage, 
as well as Greece and its colonies. From all .these countries 
Etruscan civilization was invigorated and diversified, and 
Rome in its early days enjoyed the benefit of this invigor- 
ation and diversification. That it early acquired from the 
Etruscans a knowledge of the use and manufacture of iron 
can easily be imagined, and subsequent direct contact with 
Grecian colonies and with Greece itself would extend this 

The island of Elba lay off the Etruscan coast, and, as has 
already been stated, its iron ores were extensively used by the 
Greeks about the time when Rome was founded. Its mines 
were also worked by the Etruscans, and its ores were smelted 
both on the island and on the mainland. They were also 
taken to other countries to be converted into iron. After a 


lapse of twenty-five centuries the iron ores of this celebrated 
island are still exported, many cargoes annually ^finding their 
way to the United States. The Romans would also obtain 
iron from the islands of Corsica and Sardinia, but chiefly 
from Corsica. This island was occupied by the Ligurians 
and the Etruscans about the time of the founding of Rome, 
and by the Etruscans for centuries afterwards. The Cartha- 
ginians succeeded the Etruscans, and the Romans the Car- 
thaginians. Iron has been made in Corsica from the earliest 
times, and is still made in small quantities. The island has 
given its name to the Corsican forge, which is yet in use. 
A few years ago ten of these forges were in operation in Cor- 
sica, and they were probably identical in character with those 
which were used on the island when Rome was founded. 

Iron is frequently mentioned in the early history of Rome. 
A war between the Romans and the Etruscans, the latter be- 
ing led by their king, Porsenna, occurred in the year 507* be- 
fore Christ, and among the conditions of peace exacted by 
the victorious Etruscan king was one which prohibited the 
Romans from using iron except for agricultural purposes. 
This incident confirms the theory that iron was in common 
use by the Greeks at the period mentioned. In the year 390 
before Christ, when Rome was about to be ransomed from the 
Gauls, under Brennus, by a large payment of gold, Camillus, 
the Roman dictator, indignantly demurred, and declared that 
Rome should be ransomed with iron and not with gold, and 
that his sword alone should purchase peace. Another nota- 
ble mention of iron in the early history of Rome occurs in 
the account of the defeat of the Carthaginian fleet in the first 
Punic war, in the third century before the Christian era. The 
consul, Duilius, took command of the hastily-constructed Ro- 
man fleet, and upon encountering the Carthaginian fleet he 
connected his ships with those of the enemy by means of 
grappling-irons, through which, and the superior prowess of 
the Romans, he secured for Rome, in the year 260 before 
Christ, its first naval triumph. The Etruscan town of Pup- 
luna is said to have furnished Scipio with iron in the second 
Punic war, and it is stated that many thousand tons of scoria 
are now lying on the beach close to its site. 

Some of the swords and javelins of the Romans were 


certainly made of iron, or more likely of steel, as early as 
the fourth century before the Christian era, but their agri- 
cultural implements, as has been explained in the reference 
to Etruria, were made of iron at an earlier period. The Ro- 
man battering-ram, which was borrowed from the Greeks, had 
a head of iron, and iron rings were placed around its beam. 
The Romans used this engine of war at the siege of Syracuse 
in the year 212 before Christ. Prior to this time iron and 
steel tools were in common use among the shipwrights, car- 
penters, masons, and other tradesmen of Rome. At the be- 
ginning of the Christian era iron was in general use through- 
out the Roman empire, the supply being derived from many 
countries which were subject to its sway. In the Acts of the 
Apostles, xii. 10, is a statement which indicates that iron was 
used at this period for architectural purposes and in public 
works. " When they were past the first and the second ward 
they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city." 
Iron was, however, used at this time especially for tools, ag- 
ricultural implements, and weapons of offense and defense. 

Pliny says that " iron ores are to be found almost every- 
where." He describes in detail the various uses to which 
iron was applied in his day, and places it at the head of all 
the metals. Vestiges of iron used by the Romans in the first 
century after Christ have been found in the ruins of the 
Coliseum, which was built by the emperor Vespasian. This 
iron was used as clamps to bind together the stones of that 
remarkable structure. Iron has also been found in the ruins 
of Pompeii, which was destroyed about the time the Coliseum 
was built ; also steel surgical instruments. 

In the northern part of Italy, just south of the Alps, cor- 
responding to Piedmont and Lombardy of the present day, 
iron was made by the Romans in the first and second centu- 
ries before the Christian era. This part of Italy has contin- 
ued to make small quantities of iron ever since the days of 
Pliny, the business being mainly confined to small forges 
and blast furnaces. Pliny speaks of the excellence of the 
water at Comum, now Como, for tempering iron, although 
he says that iron ores were not found there. Italy was very 
prominent in the middle ages in the manufacture of orna- 
mental smithwork of iron, and for the manufacture of arms 


and armor its great city of Milan was widely celebrated from 
the end of the fourteenth to the end of the sixteenth century. 

Among the provinces which contributed largely to the Ro- 
man supply of iron was Noricum, corresponding to the pres- 
ent Styria and Carinthia in Austria. Both Pliny and Ovid, 
who lived at the beginning of the Christian era, speak of 
Norican iron as being of superior quality, and it is certain 
that ferrum noricum was celebrated throughout Italy before 
their day. The best of swords were made from it in the 
reign of Augustus and were favorably mentioned by Horace. 
The spathic ores of Styria and Carinthia are still held in 
high favor ; and the supply of ore, especially from the fa- 
mous iron mountains of Erzberg and Hiittenberg, show r s no 
signs of exhaustion at the end of twenty centuries of almost 
constant use. Iron is still made in these provinces of Austria 
in small forges which are almost as primitive in character* 
as those used by their ancient Celtic inhabitants. Celtic and 
Roman implements and medals, including a coin of the em- 
peror Nerva, who lived in the first century of the Christian 
era, have been found in mounds of slag in the vicinity of 
Carinthian iron mines. 

Cotemporaneously with the working by the Celts of the 
Norican iron mines, the Quadi, who inhabited the province 
of Moravia, lying north of Noricum, also made iron. The 
geographer, Ptolemy, who lived in the second century of the 
Christian era, makes mention of the Quadi as ironworkers. 
Iron was also made in Hungary at the beginning of the 
Christian era. A late writer, Anton Kerpely, of Buda-Pesth, 
says : " Even in the time of the Romans, and in the first 
century of our era, the excellent iron ores of Hungary were 
mined not far from the famous Trajan road and the Roman 
colonies lying near thereto." Great antiquity is also claimed 
for the iron industry of that vast country which was known 
to the Romans as Sarmatia, but is now known as Russia in 
Europe. The nomadic Scythians would doubtless carry the 
art of ironmaking to the Ural mountains, where iron ore was 
and still is abundant. One of the Greek poets calls Scythia 
" the mother of iron," Scythia comprising the countries lying 
north, east, and south of the Caspian sea. 

The Phoenicians founded colonies in France and Spain 


prior to the sixth century before Christ. They had settle- 
ments on the Garonne and Rhone in Southern Gaul. The 
ancient city of Massilia, now Marseilles, is supposed to occupy 
the site of a Phoenician trading-post which fell into the pos- 
session of the Phoceean Greeks about the period above men- 
tioned, who gave to it great commercial and manufacturing 
importance. The Greeks planted other colonies in Southern 
France. The city of Tartessus, or Tarshisji, is supposed to 
have been one of the Phoenician settlements in the south 
of Spain ; the city of Gades, or Cadiz, was another. Tartes- 
sus stood between the two arms of the Guadalquivir ; but in 
the time of Strabo, who died about the year 25 of the Chris- 
tian era, it had ceased to exist. Gades was its near neighbor 
and still exists. The Phoenicians may have introduced the 
manufacture of iron among the native inhabitants of France 
and Spain ; the Celtiberians of the latter country were cer- 
tainly active in the mining and working of metals several 
hundred years before the Christian era, and maintained an 
extensive trade in metals with Tyre and Carthage. 

Under Grecian influence, which succeeded that of the 
Phoenicians in Spain, the Celtiberians, who inhabited the cen- 
tral and northeastern parts of" the country, continued to make 
iron, and to this was joined the manufacture of steel. The 
famous forges of Aragon and Catalonia were active during 
the Grecian occupation of Spain. The Carthaginians for 
a brief time succeeded the Greeks in Spain, and about two 
centuries before the Christian era the Romans succeeded the 
Carthaginians. The Romans greatly extended the arts of 
their advanced civilization among the native inhabitants of 
Spain. They gave special encouragement to the manufacture 
of iron and steel, although in justice to the Celtiberians it 
must be said that their metallurgical skill was at least equal 
to that of the Romans. Polybius, a Greek historian who 
flourished in the second century before Christ, says that the 
helmet and armor of the Roman soldier were of bronze,- but 
that the sword was a cut-and-thrust blade of Spanish steel. 
At the battle of Cannae, in the year 216 before Christ, the 
Romans had learned from the Carthaginians at very great 
cost the value of the Spanish sword. 

Livy has recorded the fines which were imposed by Cato 


the Censor on the Celtiberian iron works in the year 194 
before Christ, after the Roman war with Spain. About the 
time these fines were imposed the town of Bilbilis, near the 
present Moorish-built town of Calatayud, in Aragon, and the 
little river Salo were celebrated as the centre of the iron dis- 
trict of Celtiberia. The water of the Salo was supposed to 
possess special qualities for tempering steel. The same ex- 
cellence was attributed to some other streams in Spain and 
other ironmaking countries. Diodorus speaks of the excellent 
two-edged swords, " exactly tempered with steel," and of other 
arms which the Celtiberians in Aragon manufactured from 
rods of iron which had been rusted in the ground " to eat 
out all the weaker particles of the metal, and leave only the 
strongest and purest." He says that the swords which were 
manufactured from these rods " are so keen that there is no 
helmet or shield which can not be cut through by them." 
Plutarch, who died about the year 140 of the Christian era, 
gives the same account of the Celtiberian method of purify- 
ing iron. Pliny speaks of the excellent iron of Bilbilis and 
Turiasso, the latter a town in Tarragona, and of an extensive 
mountain of iron upon the coast of Biscay, probably Somor- 
rostro. Iron ore from the coast' of Biscay and other parts of 
Spain is now exported in large quantities to Great Britain, 
Germany, the United States, and other countries. 

Toledo has been famous since the Roman occupation of 
Spain for its manufacture of steel swords, but this industry 
existed at Toledo before the appearance of the Romans. The 
town was captured by them in the year 192 before Christ. 
The Roman army from that time forward was provided with 
steel swords from Toledo and other places in Spain. The 
manufacture of Toledo blades probably attained its greatest 
development in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. A cer- 
tain degree of mystery has always surrounded the manufac- 
ture of these swords, and the same may be said of the manu- 
facture in ancient times of the equally celebrated Damascus 

The manufacture of swords at Toledo still continues in a 
restricted way. A recent traveler, describing the ruined con- 
dition of the ancient city, refers as follows to the building in 
which the famous blades were once forged in such great num- 


bers : " A few artisans still work there for the Spanish army, 
but they do very little beyond turning out a few weapons 
for show." 

The iron industry of Spain was the first in the world for 
hundreds of years after the Romans obtained a foothold in 
the country, surviving the downfall of the Roman power in 
the Peninsula in the fifth century after Christ and flourish- 
ing under the subsequent rule of the Visigoths. This distinc- 
tion was strengthened when the Moors became masters of the 
greater part of Spain in the beginning of the eighth century 
of the Christian era. They stimulated the further develop- 
ment of the iron manufacture in the districts subject to their 
sway. At the same time the native inhabitants who had suc- 
cessfully resisted the Moorish arms continued to push their 
small Catalan forges still farther into the Pyrenees and along 
the coast of Biscay, lighting up the forests in every direction. 
So prominent did the iron industry of Spain become that its 
ironworkers were sought for by other countries, and on the 
French side of the Pyrenees, and in the mountains of Ger- 
many, and along the Rhine they set up many of their small 
forges. The Catalan forge, which received its name from 
Catalonia, has been introduced into every civilized country of 
modern times which produces iron, and it still exists in al- 
most its original simplicity in the mountains of both Spain 
and France and in the Southern States of our own country. 
Spain continued to make large quantities of iron and steel of 
the best qualities down to the closing years of the eighteenth 
century, when its iron and steel industries began to decline 
in consequence of the greater enterprise of other countries 
and their adoption of modern methods of manufacture. Ger- 
many and England had previously surpassed Spain in the 
quantity but not in the quality of the iron and steel they 
respectively produced. 

The Basque provinces, in the northeastern part of Spain 
and in the extreme southwestern part of France, on the coast 
of Biscay, possessed an extensive iron industry from the days 
of the Romans until the period mentioned at the close of the 
last paragraph. In. the fourteenth century Bilbao (pronounced 
Bilbo) became a centre of this industry, which included the 
making of swords of unsurpassed quality, like those of Tole- 


do. Shakespeare frequently refers to the " bilbo," a Spanish 
sword, which derived its name from Bilbao. In the Merry 
Wives of Windsor, act 1, scene 1, Pistol says to Falstaff : " Sir 
John and master mine, I combat challenge of this latten bil- 
bo." In act 3, scene 5, Falstaff says to Ford : " I suffered the 
pangs of three several deaths : .... to be compassed, 
like a good bilbo, in the circumference of a peck, hilt to 
point, heel to head," a comparison which shows the great 
flexibility of the Spanish sword. In Hamlet, act 5, scene 2, 
iron fetters called " bilboes " are mentioned by Hamlet in ad- 
dressing Horatio, although their mention in Hamlet may be an 
anachronism. Sir Walter Scott also refers to the swords of 
Bilbao. In The Lay of the Last Minstrel we read as follows : 

His Bilboa blade, by Marchmen felt, 
Hung in a broad and studded belt; 
Hence, in rude phrase, the Borderers still 
Called noble Howard "Belted Will." 

A French writer, M. Alexandre Pourcel, has recently pre- 
pared with great care a most interesting and valuable account 
of the iron industry of the Basque provinces. He quotes first 
the statement by Pliny : " On the coast of Cantabria washed 
by the ocean a high mountain rises precipitously, which, in- 
credible as it may appear, is nothing but an immense block 
of iron ore," which, he says, evidently refers to the mountain 
of Triano, (or Somorrostro,) in the Spanish province of Bis- 
cay, and then adds : 

Oral tradition remained almost the sole depository of the history of 
the Basque country up to a comparatively recent period ; and the ar- 
chives do not go back beyond the early years of the sixteenth century. 
The historians who wrote in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries re- 
late that from the tenth century the incomparable vena dulce was shipped 
on the river of Bilbao, the Nerba or Nervion, and transported to the dif- 
ferent ports of the province of Guipuzcoa, to San Sebastian, Pasajes, and 
even to Saint-Jean-de-Luz, Cape Breton, or Bayonne. At the same period 
thg Biscayans exported to France, the Netherlands, and England their iron, 
which had already be'come celebrated, and which they extracted from the 
vena dulce. 

M. Pourcel next refers to a description of the Catalan 
process, written by Don Pedro de Medine in 1595, and says : 

According to this author there were at that period in Biscay and 
Guipuzcoa, where the Somorrostro ore was sent, 300 ferrerias, each of 


which produced about 1,000 cwt. of iron and steel per annum, a total of 
about 300,000 cwt., (quintals,) or rather less than 15,000 tons, of which a 
third was immediately disposed of in these two provinces for naval con- 
struction ; another third was turned into fire-arms, tools of every descrip- 
tion, nails, and agricultural implements ; while the remainder was export- 
ed in the form of bars. According to Father Gabriel de Henao, at the 
beginning of the sixteenth century there were more than 80 reducing 
hearths in Biscay, and in the middle of the following century, in 1658, 
he counted himself as many as 107 fires, producing iron in large lumps, 
and 70 working at finishing processes. The finished products of every 
description exceeded 100,000 cwt., (quintals,) about 4,900 tons. It was dur- 
ing the eighteenth century that the iron industry of the Basque country 
reached its apogee with a production in certain years of more than 12,000 
tons in Biscay alone. At that time this province had 245 hearths in 
operation. The one description of ore which was smelted in the ferrerias 
of the Basque country and the neighboring provinces was the vena dulce, 
a red hematite, almost free from gangue, soft and sticky to the touch, and 
easily cut with a tool. 

The works celebrated for forgings were situated in Guipuzcoa. Don 
Jeronimo Ustariz, Royal Secretary for the Indies, in a memoir drawn up 
by order of Philip V., in 1724, with reference to the state of commerce 
and naval affairs, mentions the forges of Placencia, in Guipuzcoa, distant 
three leagues from the sea, as being capable of furnishing all the arms 
that the fleet might require, and all the iron work for shipping purposes, 
such as anchors, etc. In 1748, in a report on the artillery, presented to 
Ferdinand VI., the Marquis de la Ensenada, a celebrated statesman, ex- 
presses himself in the following terms : " Whereas the iron of Cantabria 
is the very best obtainable, it follows naturally that arms, such as muskets, 
pistols, carbines, etc., made with this iron, must be of the best quality. 
It is therefore of importance that the manufactories of Guipuzcoa, which 
make a specialty of this class of work, should be called into requisition 
for supplying Spain and America with this material." Towards the end 
of the century, in 1785, Guipuzcoa possessed eighteen manufactories of 
ships' anchors. These works supplied not only the state arsenals but ex- 
ported their manufactures to France and England. Just about the same 
time we find from the official reports furnished to the seigniory of Biscay 
that there were 154 ferrerias in full work in this province, producing 7,300 
tons of iron annually. From that time the ancient iron industry of Bis- 
cay has been constantly declining. 

We have quoted liberally from M. Pourcel's account be- 
cause of its great historic value. ' We are pleased to be able 
to supplement these details with the general statement that 
during recent years the iron industry of Spain is being re- 
vived through the introduction at Bilbao and elsewhere of 
modern processes of manufacture, to which its rich ores are 
so admirably adapted. 

France did not at an early period in its history make the 


same progress in the manufacture of iron that has been re- 
corded of Spain, partly because it did not receive the same 
outside attention which made Spain a centre successively of 
Phoenician, Grecian, Carthaginian, Roman, Gothic, and Moor- 
ish civilization, but partly also because it did not possess as 
rich iron ores as those of Spain. It may be said, however, 
that iron weapons were well known to the Gauls who con- 
fronted the Romans hundreds of years before the Christian 
era and to their successors who opposed the armies of Julius 
Caesar, who frequently refers to their use of iron. In speak- 
ing of the Veneti, who inhabited the southern part of Britta- 
ny, which forms the northwestern part of France, he makes 
the remarkable statement that the anchors for their ships 
were fastened to them with iron chains instead of cables. He 
also says that the benches of the ships were fastened with iron 
spikes of the thickness of a man's thumb. This circumstan- 
tial account denotes great familiarity with the use of iron 
by the Veneti. In describing the siege of Avaricum, the 
modern Bourges, a fortified town of the Bituriges, Csesar says 
that " there are in their territories extensive iron mines, and 
consequently every description of mining operations is known 
and practiced by them." We have already referred to the 
existence of an early iron industry in the French part of the 
Basque provinces. 

For hundreds of years after Caesar's time only faint glimp- 
ses are furnished us of an iron industry in France. During 
this period it was doubtless wholly confined to Catalan forges. 
In the remains of a celebrated bridge erected by Charlemagne 
over the Rhine, at Mayence, in the latter part of the eighth 
century, .and which have but recently been removed, iron in a 
good state of preservation, " being covered by only a thin layer 
of rust," has been found riveted to the wood-work. Stilckofen, 
or high bloomaries, were in use in Alsatia and Burgundy in 
the tenth century. When William the Norman invaded Eng- 
land in 1066 he was accompanied by many smiths who were 
armorers and horse-shoers, and were therefore skilled workers 
-in iron. The modern blast furnace is supposed to have origi- 
nated in the Rhine provinces about the beginning of the four- 
teenth century, but whether in France, Germany, or Belgium 
is not clear. A hundred years later, in 1409, there was a blast 


furnace in the valley of Massevaux in France, and it is claim- 
ed by Landrin that there were many blast furnaces in France 
about 1450. 

Iron was made by the Belgse as early as the time of Julius 
Caesar, and possibly at an earlier date. Heaps of iron cinder, 
which antiquarians decide to be as old at least as the Roman 
occupation of Gallia Belgica, have recently been found on 
the tops of iron-ore hillocks in the provinces of Brabant and 
Antwerp, and in these cinder heaps have been discovered 
flint arrow-heads and fragments of coarse pottery, character- 
istic of the earliest dawn of civilization. During the Roman 
occupation iron was produced in many places, a fact which is 
attested by heaps of cinder or slag which yet exist and are 
found in association with Roman relics. It has been suppos- 
ed that the iron which was made in Belgium at this period 
was produced in low bloomaries without an artificial blast. 
It is, perhaps, a more reasonable supposition that the Romans 
found this primitive method in use among the Belgians, and 
that they introduced an artificial blast by means of a leather 

We do not again hear of the Belgian iron industry until 
the tenth century, when high bloomaries, or wolf furnaces, 
likewise known as stuckofen, were in operation in the valley of 
the Meuse. "We are informed by M. Julien Deby, in a paper 
on the iron and steel industries of Belgium, that " iron was 
made to perfection in the Netherlands" in the twelfth cent- 
ury. In the fourteenth century high furnaces, or flussofen, 
were in existence in Belgium. In 1340 a furnace of this 
kind was built at Marche les Dames, near Namur, to which 
special privileges were granted in 1345 by William, count of 
Namur. Fraiiquoy refers to documentary evidence that there 
were hauls fourneaux, or blast furnaces, at Vennes and Griveg- 
nee, near Liege, in Belgium, before 1400. All these furnaces, 
except the wolf furnaces, were true blast furnaces, producing 
cast iron. In 1560 there were in operation in the province 
of Namur, according to Karsten, 35 blast furnaces and 85 
forges. In 1613 permission was granted to two armorers of 
Maastricht to convert iron into steel, probably cemented steel. 
The celebrated . works of the John Cockerill Company, at 
Seraing, near Liege, were not established until 1817. 


Near Saarbriicken, in Prussia, where the first battle be- 
tween the French and the Germans occurred in the war of 
1870, iron is said to have been made in the days of Roman 
ascendency, but the Germans do not appear during this pe- 
riod to have been as familiar with its manufacture as some 
of their neighbors. Tacitus informs us that " iron does not 
abound in Germany, if we may judge from the weapons in 
general use. Swords and large lances are seldom seen. The 
soldier grasps his javelin, or, as it is called in their language, 
his /ram, an instrument tipped with a short and narrow piece 
of iron, sharply pointed, and so commodious that, as occasion 
requires, he can manage it in close engagement or in distant 
combat." He further says that the use of iron was unknown 
to the .ZEstyans, who inhabited the northern part of Germany 
lying upon the Baltic ; " their general weapon was the club." 
The Gothinians are described by Tacitus as a people who 
" submit to the drudgery of digging iron in mines " for the 
Quadi, who were their neighbors. Ernest, the German editor 
of Tacitus, says that the Gothinians had iron of their own, 
and did not make use of it to assert their liberty. Tacitus 
wrote his Treatise on Germany near the close of the first cent- 
ury of the Christian era. Polybius states that the Teutons 
and the Cimbri, from Northwestern Germany, who invaded 
Italy and Gaul near the close of the second century before 
the Christian era, "were already familiar with iron, and pos- 
sessed weapons of that metal." 

From this time forward the condition of the German iron 
industry is enveloped in obscurity until the eighth century, 
when we hear of iron works, probably wolf furnaces, or stuck- 
qfen, in the district of the river Lahn, in Nassau, where iron 
of great celebrity was made by a guild of "forest smiths" in 
780. We are informed by Maw and Dredge, in their very full 
report on the iron exhibits at the Vienna Exhibition of 1873, 
that " they had their special privileges, kept an iron mart at 
Wetzlar, and sent their products regularly to the great annual 
fairs at Frankfort-on-the-Main. This iron industry was es- 
pecially flourishing during the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fif- 
teenth centuries." During the eighth century we hear also of 
the iron industry of the principality of Siegen. There was a 
steel forge at the town of Siegen in 1288 which had been in 


existence before the eleventh century. The iron industry of 
this principality was very active during the middle ages. 

About the middle of the thirteenth century stuckofen were 
in use in Siegen. Percy, in his Metallurgy of Iron and Steel, 
says that at the beginning of the fifteenth century pig iron 
was made in Siegen in blauofen. Iron was made in Saxony 
as early as the eighth century. Alexander, in his Report on 
the Manufacture of Iron, made to the Governor of Maryland in 
1840, informs us that the flussofen was introduced into Sax- 
ony in 1550, and that the wooden bellows was invented about 
this time by Hans Lobsinger, an organist of Nuremberg. 

Iron was made in the Hartz mountains in the eighth 
century. Wolf furnaces and ore bloomaries were in existence 
in the Thuringian mountains in the tenth century, and blast 
furnaces in the fourteenth century. Alexander states that in 
the latter half of the sixteenth century there was a furnace 
in these mountains which was 24 feet high and 6 feet wide 
at the boshes, built by Hanssien, a Voigtlander. 

Solingen, in Rhenish Prussia, was celebrated as early as 
the twelfth ce'htury for its swords and other cutting instru- 
ments. Swords of superior quality are still made in large 
quantities at the same place. In 1377 cast-iron guns were 
made near Erfurt, in Thuringia. In the fifteenth century 
pots, plates, cannon-balls, and other articles of iron, many of 
them of great artistic excellence, were cast at the celebrated 
Ilsenberg foundry in Germany, which is still in existence. 
Stoves are said to have been cast in Alsace in 1490. As early 
as 1509 they were cast at Ilsenberg. 

The celebrated steel works of Fried. Krupp, at Essen, in 
Germany, were founded in 1815 by Friedrich Nicolai and 
Friedrich Krupp, under the firm name of Nicolai & Krupp, 
for the purpose of making cast steel. The partnership was 
soon dissolved, and the business was afterwards successfully 
conducted by Herr Krupp, who died on October 8, 1826, aged 
about 39 years. After his death the works were at first oper- 
ated by his .wife, Therese Krupp, and his oldest son, Alfred 
Krupp, the son subsequently assuming entire control. Alfred 
Krupp died on July 14, 1887, at the age of 75 years. He was 
born on April 12, 1812. The works are now in the hands of 
his son, Friedrich Alfred Krupp, grandson of the founder. 


Holland does not appear to have ever had an iron indus- 
try, and the same remark may be made of Denmark, neither 
country producing iron ore. Iron and steel made elsewhere 
have, however, been manufactured in small quantities into 
various minor products in both countries. David Mushet 
quotes M. Verlit as authority for the statement that cast iron 
was known in Holland in the thirteenth century, and that 
stoves were cast from it at Elass in the year 1400. 

Switzerland has undoubtedly made iron in small quanti- 
ties from remote ages. It now has a few small blast furnaces 
and rolling mills, and in the manufacture of cutlery and ma- 
chinery it is very active. The lake dwellers of Switzerland, 
who lived before the Christian era, possessed wrought-iron 
swords of wonderful workmanship ; also other iron weapons 
and implements. See Harper's Magazine for February, 1890, 
for a brief account of the lake dwellers. 

Recurring to the iron industry of Austria, Alexander says 
that the mines of Styria were " opened again " in 712. It ap- 
pears probable that wolf furnaces were in use in Styria, Ca- 
rinthia, and Carniola as early as the eighth fcentury, which 
seems to be the epoch of their introduction in most Euro- 
pean countries. These provinces became very prominent in 
subsequent centuries in the manufacture of iron and steel in 
Catalan forges. The first blast furnace in the Alps provinces 
was, however, introduced very much later than in Belgium or 
on the .Rhine, the first in Carinthia being built in 1567, at 
Urtl ; the first in Styria in 1760, at Eisenerz ; and the first in 
Carniola in the early part of the present century. Iron was 
made in Bohemia and Silesia at an early period. " The Bo- 
hemian chronicler, Hajek, of Liboschan, mentions that iron 
works existed in 677, near Schasslau." Heaps of cinder and 
remains of wolf furnaces and ore bloomaries are numerous 
in Bohemia. In 1365 bloomaries were in use in Upper Sile- 
sia. Kerpely says that written descriptions are extant of the 
working of iron mines in Upper Hungary in 1326 and 1408. 
Iron slag has been discovered in Hungary at a depth of 
about one foot below the surface of the ground and in the 
midst of beautiful vineyards. It is probable that iron had 
been continuously made in Hungary and in various Austrian 
provinces in the period intervening between the dates above 


mentioned and the early operations in Noricum, Moravia, 
and Hungary which have already been referred to. 

The iron industry of Sweden had an existence as early 
at least as the^ thirteenth century. A Swedish historian says 
that the oldest iron mine in Sweden is probably Norberg, in 
Westmanland, on the southern borders of Dalecarlia. There 
are documents still in existence, dated July 29, 1303, signed 
by Thorkel Knutson, the royal marshal, in which Norberg 
is mentioned as an iron mine. Exclusive privileges were 
granted to the miners of Norberg by King Magnus Ericsson 
in 1354. It is probable, however, that the manufacture of 
iron in botji Sweden and Norway antedates the time of the 
vikings in the eighth and ninth centuries of the Christian 
era, as the remains of their vessels which have been discov- 
ered have been found to contain iron. It may also be said 
that, as iron was made in other European countries before 
this period, there is no good reason to doubt that it was also 
made in Sweden and Norway. At Taplow, on the Thames, 
in England, not far from Windsor Castle, the tomb of a Norse 
viking of undoubted identity was opened in 1883, and in it 
were found, among other articles, a rusted iron sword which 
fell into pieces when removed, an iron knife, the iron socket 
of a spear, an iron ring strengthening the inside of a bronze 
shield, and another iron ring strengthening the bottom of a 
bronze bucket. Still more recently there has been discovered 
at Gloppen, on the coast of Norway, a burial chamber 12 feet 
in length, formed of stone slabs, containing the remains of a 
man, two lance-heads of iron 12 inches long, an iron shield, 
some Roman gold coins perforated and worn as ornaments, 
some iron arrow-heads, and many bronze, glass, and other ar- 
ticles, all denoting a very early origin. In the valley of Val- 
ders, in South Norway, a sword, a spear, and an armlet have 
recently been found, the sword and spear being of iron and 
the armlet of bronze. On a farm in Tromso sound, close 
to the North cape, the skeleton of a tall man was recently 
plowed up, and by its side lay an iron sword, a short and a 
long iron spear, three iron arrow-heads, the blade of a scythe, 
a small iron rod, and other articles. In East Gothia, in Swe- 
den, an oval-shaped stone grave has been discovered, contain- 
ing a skeleton, beside which were a sword, two spear-heads, 


and the remains of a shield and a helmet, all of iron. All 
these Swedish and Norwegian relics are of undoubted pre- 
historic origin. 

In 1889 Paul B. Du Chaillu published in two volumes The 
Viking Age, in which he incorporates many evidences of the 
existence of an advanced iron industry among the Norsemen 
in the early centuries of the Christian era. His circumstan- 
tial statements are very interesting and very valuable. 

In 1488 the celebrated mines of Dannemora, in Sweden, 
were opened. The celebrated cannon factory at Finspong 
" received its first privileges " in 1587, and the Akers cannon 
factory, now abolished, dates from 1584. In 1614 Gustavus 
Adolphus promoted the immigration of German furnacemen 
into Sweden. The Walloon refining process, which takes its 
name from the Walloons, of Flanders, was introduced into 
Sweden from Flanders in the time of Charles the Twelfth, 
who reigned from 1697 to 1718. Percy states that the os- 
mund furnace, which was a modification of the stuckofen, was 
formerly very common in Sweden. Overman, in his Manu- 
facture of Iron, says that this furnace was introduced into 
Sweden from Germany. We have proof of its existence in 
Finland as late in the present century as 1873. A stuekofen 
was in operation in the province of Jemtland, in Sweden, as 
late as 1830. We have a record of the exportation of 2,200 
tons of malleable iron from Sweden in 1559. 

The iron industry of Russia dates historically from 1569, 
in which year, as recorded by Scrivenor, in his History of 
the Iron Trade, published in 1841, the English "obtained the 
privilege of seeking for and smelting iron ore, on condition 
that they should teach the Russians the art of working this 
metal." The first historical iron works in Russia, however, 
were established long afterwards, according to the same au- 
thor, in the reign of the czar Alexy Michaelovitch, (1645 to 
1676,) about sixty miles from Moscow, and were by Scrivenor 
said to be the only works in Russia prior to the reign of Pe- 
ter the Great, who is reported to have worked in them before 
he set out, in 1697, on his first journey into foreign countries. 

It is not known when the celebrated Russia sheet iron 
was first made. It is not mentioned in a circumstantial 
enumeration of the iron manufactures of Russia about 1798, 


to be found in Scrivenor. It is produced to-day on both 
sides of the Ural mountains, but chiefly on the Siberian side. 

There is reason to believe that the Russians were skilled 
ironworkers and metallurgists long before the period which 
is mentioned by Scrivenor. The bells of Moscow (not made 
of iron, however,) have been famous for hundreds of years. 
Scrivenor himself refers to "the old ruinous iron works" at 
Olonetz, which he says were "restored" by Henning, a for- 
eigner in the service of Peter the Great, about the year 1700. 
Herr Pechar, of Teplitz, in Bohemia, wrote in 1878: "Min- 
ing operations have been carried on in the Caucasus, Ural, 
Altai, and the Kirghise desert in the most remote ages. This 
is proved by the number of abandoned workings discovered 
by the Russians when they took possession of these districts. 
These conquerors, however, did not commence their working 
before the fifteenth century, from which time there was again 
a lapse of three hundred years before order and progress were 
firmly established by new mining legislation issued by Peter 
the Great, in 1719." 

We have before us an account of a Journey from St. Pe- 
tersburg to Pekin, undertaken in 1719 and completed in 1722, 
in which account there is a reference to the iron industry 
of Siberia which points to its origin as early at least as the 
preceding century. We quote as follows : 

I can not leave Solikamsky without mentioning the rich iron mines in 
the country adjacent, at Kathenaburg, and other places of that district, 
which produce iron equal perhaps in quality to the best in the world. 
These works have of late been brought to great perfection by the skill and 
indefatigable industry of Mr. Demidof, a native of Russia, enabled and en- 
couraged to carry them on by a beneficial grant from his majesty, who is 
always ready to assist and protect those who, by their ingenuity, form proj- 
ects to the advantage of his country. These works, I am informed, are 
still capable of great improvement. The ore is very good, and rises in many 
places to the very surface of the earth, and may be dug at a small expense. 
As for wood to smelt it, no place in the world can have greater advantage. 
Besides, all the machines may be driven by water, and there is an easy 
communication by the rivers to St. Petersburg for exportation, and to many 
other parts of Russia for inland consumption. In these mines are often 
found magnets of various sizes. I have seen some of them very large and 
of high virtue. There are several other iron works in Russia ; for instance, 
at Tula, Olonitz, and other places ; but the metal is of an inferior quality 
to that of Siberia. 

The narrative from which the above extract is taken was 


written by Dr. John Bell, a Scotch physician, who accompa- 
nied Peter the Great's embassy to Persia in 1715, 1716, 1717, 
and 1718, and subsequently accompanied Peter's embassy to 
China in 1719, 1720, and 1721. For a biographical sketch of 
Dr. Bell see Appleton's American Cyclopcedia. 

In an English pamphlet on the British iron trade, printed 
between 1725 and 1731, and to be found in the Journal of the 
Iron and Steel Institute for 1885, the competition of Russian 
and especially of Siberian iron in British markets is freely 
commented upon. Bar iron only is referred to. It is scarce- 
ly possible that Siberian bar iron could have been made of 
such good quality that it would compete with other iron in 
British markets at the beginning of the eighteenth century 
if its manufacture in that remote region had been under- 
taken so recently as the preceding century. It is, we think, a 
far more reasonable theory that the knowledge of the manu- 
facture of iron was carried by the iron making Parthians and 
Scythians into the Ural mountains before the Christian era, 
and that it was never lost by their successors, although new 
life was infused into the industry by Peter the Great. 

Tacitus mentions the Finns (Fenni) in his Treatise on 
Germany. He says of them. : " The Finns are extremely wild, 
and live in abject poverty. They have no arms, no horses, no 
dwellings ; they live on herbs, they clothe themselves in skins, 
and they sleep on the ground. Their only resources are their 
arrows, which for the lack of iron are tipped with bone." A 
circumstantial enumeration of the iron industries of Finland 
in 1873 mentions 22 blast furnaces and 69 miscellaneous 
wrought-iron works, including " 10 bloomaries or ancient fur- 
naces, of a construction somewhat similar to the Catalan fur- 
nace, in which the iron ore is reduced directly to a mass of 
wrought iron, which is taken out of the bottom and front of 
the furnace and worked under hammers." These were os- 
mund furnaces. Lake ores are chiefly used in the Finnish 
iron industry. 



THE use of iron in a very limited way was known to the 
Britons before the invasion of England by Julius Caesar in 
the year 55 before Christ. The Phoenicians, who traded with 
the Britons probably as early as the seventh century before 
Christ, may be supposed to have introduced among this bar- 
barous people the use of iron, but we have no proof that they 
instructed them in its manufacture. The Phoenicians visited 
the Cassiterides (the Scilly Islands and Cornwall) to obtain 
tin. Herodotus speaks of obtaining tin from the Cassiterides 
in his day, the fifth century before the Christian era. The 
Greeks and Carthaginians succeeded the Phoenicians in trad- 
ing with the Britons, but there is no proof that they taught 
them the art of making iron. They, as well as the Phoeni- 
cians, probably took iron into Britain in exchange for tin and 
other native products. Caesar, in his Commentaries, says of the 
Britons who opposed his occupation of the island that " they 
use either brass or iron rings, determined at a certain weight, 
as their money. Tin is produced in the midland regions ; 
in the maritime, iron ; but the quantity of it is small : they 
employ brass, which is imported." This quotation appears 
to establish the fact that iron was a precious metal in Britain 
at the time of the invasion ; it would at least seem to show 
that it was not in common use and could not have been used 
as an article of export. Caesar nowhere mentions the use of 
iron weapons of war by the Britons. The Belgae had passed 
over into Britain before Caesar's time and made settlements 
upon its coast, and whatever arts they possessed they would of 
course take with them. It can not be proved that the Belgae 
made iron in their own country before Caesar's invasion of 
it ; if it could be shown that they did it might safely be as- 
sumed that they would introduce' their methods of manufac- 
ture mto*Britain. Caesar says' that a small quantity of iron 
was made in the maritime regions of the island, and this 
the Belgae may have made. _ 


/ If the manufacture of iron by the Britons prior to the 
Roman invasion is enveloped in obscurity and even in doubt, 
there can be 110 doubt that iron was made in considerable 
quantities during the Roman occupation of Britain, which 
nominally extended from about the middle of the first cent- 
ury of the Christian era to the year 411. The Romans, it 
may here be remarked, knowing the value of iron, encour- 
aged its manufacture wherever their arms were borne and 
the necessary conditions existed. The remains of iron works 
which were in existence and were operated during their stay 
in Britain are still pointed out. Dismissing all speculation 
concerning the origin of the first iron works in Britain, the 
remains of some of these works may well receive attention. 
They relate to a most interesting period in the history of the 
British iron trade. 

Large heaps of iron scoria, or cinder, as old as the Roman 
era, have been discovered in the wealds of Kent and Sussex, 
in the hills of Somerset, and in the Forest of Dean in Glou- 
cester ; also at Bierley, a few miles from Bradford in York- 
shire, and in the neighborhood of Leeds in the same county. 
On the moors in the parishes of Lanch ester and Chester-le- 
Street in the county of Durham vast heaps of iron scoria of 
presumed Roman origin have been found ; also in the val- 
leys of the Reed and the Tyne in the county of Northum- 
berland. There is also evidence that iron was made under 
the Romans in the counties of Surrey, Glamorgan, Mon- 
mouth, Hereford, and Worcester. Mr. Robert Hunt, in his 
history of British Mining, says : " We may trace the Romans 
from the wild country of the Forest of Dean, and the beau- 
tiful Wye scenery in the south, through the hills of Shrop- 
shire and Montgomeryshire, Cheshire, and the counties of 
Flint and Denbigh, and through the ancient country of the 
Cangi, or Kiangi, up to the shores of the Irish Channel." 
He also says that iron was made by the Romans in Derby- 
shire, Yorkshire, Cumberland, and other counties. 

Many of the places and counties named above as having 
produced iron lie in the southeastern or southwestern parts of 
England, or within the ancient boundaries of South Wales, 
" the country of the Silures." Next to Cornwall, where tin 
was obtained by the Phoenicians and their successors, these 


southern portions of the country would be most likely to be 
visited and influenced by foreigners before the Roman inva- 
sion, and to receive the most attention after it. Csesar de- 
scribes the island of Britain as being shaped like a triangle, 
with one of its sides looking toward Gaul. " One angle of 
this side is in Kent, whither almost all ships from Gaul are 

The cinder above mentioned has almost invariably been 
found in connection with Roman coins, pottery, and altars. 
A coin of Antoninus Pius, who lived in the second century 
after Christ, was found in the Forest of Dean in 1762, to- 
gether with a piece of fine pottery. Coins of other Roman 
emperors have been found in the cinder heaps of the For- 
est of Dean. In the cinder beds of Beauport, between Hast- 
ings and Battle, in Sussex, a bronze coin of Trajan has been 
found, and one of Adrian. These emperors lived in the first 
and second centuries after Christ. Coins found in the cinder 
heaps of Maresfield, not far from Uckfield, have dates rang- 
ing from Nero to Diocletian, or from the year 54 to the year 
286 after Christ. In the cinder mounds of Sussex many 
specimens of Roman pottery have been discovered. Altars 
erected to Jupiter Dolichenus, the protector of Roman iron 
works, have been discovered in various places in England in 
association with the remains of prehistoric iron works. 

In M. A. Lower's Contributions to Literature will be found 
an interesting account of the discovery of Roman relics in 
1844, by Rev. Edward Turner, in the cinder beds of the par- 
ish of Maresfield in Sussex. This is followed by Lower with 
other proofs of the manufacture of iron in Sussex by the 
Romans. Recent researches by James Rock, of Hastings, in 
Sussex, throw additional light on the Roman and early Brit- 
ish methods of manufacturing iron. Cinder beds, or cinder 
heaps, were once very numerous in East Sussex, and many 
of them still exist. The neighborhood of Hastings appears 
to have been a great centre of the iron industry^" from the 
earliest times." The cinder heaps yet remaining are large 
enough to be quarried, and contain thousands of tons of sco- 
ria, some of the heaps having large oak trees growing upon 
their summits. 

Much of the cinder has been found on the tops of hills 


or mounds, a circumstance which justifies the belief that bel- 
lows were not employed in producing a blast, but that the 
wind was relied upon to produce a draft sufficient to smelt 
the ore in crude bloomaries, some of which were mere exca- 
vations, with covered channels leading to the hillside in the 
direction of the prevailing winds. This primitive method 
of making iron is that which appears to have prevailed in 
Belgica at the same time. Bloomaries of similar form and 
adaptation w r ere in use in Derbyshire for smelting lead as late 
as the seventeenth century. Scrivenor mentions that similar 
furnaces were used by the Peruvians to smelt the silver ore 
of their country before the arrival of the Spaniards. Other 
bloomaries in Britain are supposed by Fairbairn and other 
writers to have been simple conical structures, with small 
openings below for the -admission of air, and erected on high 
ground that the wind might assist combustion. A still sim- 
pler method is supposed to have consisted in placing ore and 
wood or charcoal in alternate layers in elevated positions, or* 
even in the lowlands. All these were wasteful methods. The 
cinder found in England and Wales was very rich in iron ; in 
the Forest of Dean it was so rich and so abundant that in 
the sixteenth century about twenty small blast furnaces were 
engaged in smelting it. 

It was stated in 1681 by Andrew Yarranton, in the second 
part of England's Improvements by Sea and Land, that <l with- 
in 100 yards of the walls of the city of Worcester there was 
dug up one of the hearths of the Roman foot-blasts, it being 
then firm and in order, and was 7 foot deep in the earth." 
The foot-blast here referred to must have been a leather bel- 
lows, with which the Romans and their Mediterranean neigh- 
bors were certainly acquainted. There is nothing improbable 
in the conclusion that the Romans while in Britain used both 
. the wind-bloomaries and the foot-blasts. 

The emperor Adrian landed in Britain in the year 120, 
and in the following year there was established at Bath, in 
Wiltshire, a Roman military forge, or fabrica, for the nWiu- 
facture of iron arms. This forge w^s close to the bloomaries 
in Somerset and the Forest of Dean,' from which it was sup- 
plied with iron. That the manufacture of iron in Britain at 
this time and for some time subsequently was almost wholly 


confined to the southern parts of England seems probable 
from a passage in Herodian, quoted by Smiles in his Indus- 
trial Biography, who says of the British pursued by the em- 
peror Severus, in the year 208, through the fens and marshes 
of the east coast, that " they wore iron hoops round their 
middles and their necks, esteeming them as ornaments and 
tokens of riches, in like manner as other barbarous people 
then esteemed ornaments of silver and gold." 

Percy quotes from the London Times an account of the 
opening of some prehistoric remains in the Cheviot hills, in 
the north of England, in 1861 and 1862, which revealed va- 
rious evidences of the rude civilization of the early Celtic, 
or British, inhabitants, including pieces of iron slag. These 
remains are assigned by the Times to the Roman period of 
British history, but they may belong to a later period. 

Strabo mentions the exportation of iron from Britain 
in his day, the beginning of the Christian era. This was 
before the Romans had subdued the Britons, but after the 
influence of Roman civilization had been felt in the island. 
During the Roman occupation of Britain iron was one of the 
products of the country which were regularly exported. 

The Anglo-Saxons, who succeeded the Romans in Britain 
in the early part of the fifth century, used tools and weapons 
of iron, and it is a reasonable supposition that they pro- 
duced all the iron that was required for their manufacture ; 
but their enterprise as iron manufacturers probably extended 
no further, although Bede, who is the earliest English his- 
torian, speaks of the importance of the iron industry in his 
day, the beginning of the eighth century. The Anglo-Saxon 
monks frequently engaged in the manufacture of iron. St. 
Dunstan, who lived in the tenth century, is said to have had 
a forge in his bedroom, and to have been a skilled black- 
smith and metallurgist. One of the last of the Anglo-Saxon 
kings was Edmund Ironside. 

During the ascendency of the Danes, and afterwards down 
to the accession of William the Conqueror in 1066, iron was 
made in the Forest of Dean and elsewhere, but in limited 
quantities. In Doomsday-Book mention is made of iron works 
in the counties of Somerset, Hereford, Gloucester, Cheshire, 
and Lincoln, but no mention is made of iron works in Kent, 


Surrey, or Sussex. In the eleventh century the Anglo-Saxon 
plow consisted of a wooden wedge covered with iron straps, 
to which the Normans added the coulter. The shipbuilders 
of Edward the Confessor, the last of the Anglo-Saxon kings 
prior to Harold who lost the battle of Hastings, obtained 
supplies of bolts and bars of iron from the city of Glouces- 
ter. The antiquarian Camden says that " in and before the 
reign of William the Conqueror the chief trade of the city 
of Gloucester was the forging of iron ; and it is mentioned 
in Doomsday-Book that there was scarcely any other tribute 
required from that city by the king than certain dicars of 
iron and iron bars for the use of the royal navy. The quan- 
tity required was thirty-six dicars of iron, a dicar containing 
ten bars and one "hundred iron rods for nails or bolts." Gi- 
raldis Cambrensis, who lived in the twelfth century, speaks 
of " the noble Forest of Dean, by which Gloucester was am- 
ply supplied with iron and venison." Nicholls, in The Forest 
of Dean, says that in the time of Edward the First, in the 
latter part of the thirteenth century, the Free Miners of the 
Forest " applied for and obtained their ' customes and fran- 
chises,' which were granted, as the record of them declares, 
'time out of minde.'" In 1282, according to Nicholls, there 
were " upwards of seventy-two " forgece errantes, or movable 
forges, in the Forest, each of which paid a license of seven 
shillings a year to the crown. 

Scrivenor says that during the period from the Conquest 
to the death of John, in 1216, iron and steel were imported 
into Britain from Germany and other countries, the domestic 
supply being insufficient. The Normans, however, contribu- 
ted much to the development of English iron and other re- 
sources. Green, in his History of the English People, says that 
one immediate result of the Conquest was a great immigra- 
tion into England from the Continent. "A peaceful invasion 
of the industrial and trading classes of Normandy followed 
quick on the conquest of the Norman soldiery." In 1266 and 
subsequently we hear of iron works in Sussex which were 
not mentioned in Doomsday-Book. In the year 1300 the iron- 
mongers of London complained to the Lord Mayor that the 
smiths of the weald of Sussex brought iron for wheels that 
was not what it ought to have been, " to the loss of the w r hole 


trade." In 1321 three thousand horseshoes and twenty-nine 
thousand nails were provided by Peter de Waltham, sheriff 
of Surrey and Sussex, for the expedition against Bruce in 
which Edward the Second attempted to retrieve the defeat 
at Bannockburn. 

Still the English iron industry made very slow progress. 
Professor James E. Thorold Rogers, in his Work and Wages, 
informs us that during the reign of Edward the First (1274 
to 1307) the most valuable articles in use by the English 
peasants were copper and brass pots and a few common iron 
utensils, all metals being exceedingly dear, and iron, relatively 
speaking, being the dearest of all. The iron utensils of this 
period were all made of hammered iron. It is mentioned by 
Scrivenor that there were but few iron mines in the north of 
England in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, and that, 
in the tenth year of the reign of Edward the Second, in 1317, 
iron was so scarce in that section and in Scotland that the 
Scots, " in a predatory expedition which they made in that 
year, met with no iron worth their notice until they came to 
Furness, in Lancashire, where they seized all the manufac- 
tured iron they could find, and carried it off with the greatest 
joy, though so heavy of carriage, and preferred it to all other 
plunder." The Scots at this time were in great need of iron, 
which they did not produce in large quantities in their small 
forges, and for which they were largely dependent on the Con- 
tinent and on the favor or ill-fortune of England. Alexander 
says that there were iron works at Kimberworth, in York- 
shire, in 1160, and Smiles gives an extract from a contract 
for supplying wood and ore for iron " blomes " at Kirskill, 
near Otley, in Yorkshire, in 1352. A recent writer, Mr. H. A. 
Fletcher, says that " the earliest record which has been found 
of iron-ore mining in Cumberland seems to be the grant of 
the forge at Winefel to the monks of Holm Cultram Abbey, 
in the twelfth century, which also included a mine at Egre- 
mont, by inference of iron, being in connection with a forge ; 
and Thomas de Multon confirms a gift to the same abbey de 
quartuor duodenis mince ferri in Coupland." The Ulverston dis- 
trict in Lancashire appears to have been a seat of the English 
iron industry as early as the twelfth century. 

Scrivenor mentions one art related to the manufacture of 


iron which flourished in England from William to John if 
the manufacture itself did not. The art of making defensive 
armor was brought to such perfection -during the period men- 
tioned that " a knight completely armed was almost invulner- 
able." The history of the crusades shows that the English 
were then very proficient in the manufacture of both arms 
and armor, as were the Turks and other Asiatic tribes who 
resisted them. Smiles says that it was the knowledge of the 
art of forging iron which laid the foundation of the Turk- 
ish empire. By means of this art the Turks made the arms 
which first secured their own freedom and then enabled them 
to extend their power. The quality of the swords used by 
the English and by their Infidel opponents is illustrated by 
an incident related by Sir Walter Scott in the Tales of the 
Crusaders. He describes a meeting between Richard Coeur 
de Lion and Saladin, at which Saladin asks Richard to show 
him the strength for which he is famous, and the Norman 
monarch responds by severing a bar of iron which lies on 
the floor of his tent. Saladin says, " I can not do that," but 
he takes a down pillow from the sofa, and drawing his keen 
blade across it it falls in two pieces. Richard says, " This is 
the black art ; it is magic ; it is the devil ; you can not cut 
that which has no resistance." Saladin, to show him that 
such is not the case, takes from his shoulders a scarf which 
is so light that it almost floats in the air, and tossing it up 
severs it before it can descend. Much of the iron which the 
English used at this time in the manufacture of arms and 
armor came from Spain. 

Edward the Third, who reigned from 1327 to 1377, did 
much to advance the manufacturing industries of England. 
He protected domestic manufactures by legislation which re- 
stricted the importation of foreign goods, and he encouraged 
the immigration into England of skilled workmen from the 
Continent. The use of ^iron was greatly extended in his reign, 
and its manufacture was active in Kent and Sussex and in 
the Forest of Dean. Nevertheless the domestic supply did 
not meet the wants of the people. Scrivenor says : " By an 
act passed in the twenty-eighth year of Edward the Third no 
iron manufactured in England, and also no iron imported and 
sold, could be carried out of the country, under the penalty 


of forfeiting double the quantity to the king ; and the mag- 
istrates were empowered to regulate the selling price and to 
punish those who sold at too dear a rate, according to the 
extent of the transaction." This act appears to have remain- 
ed in force long after Edward's death. Smiles quotes from 
Parker's English Home the statement that in the reign of this 
king the pots, spits, and frying-pan of the royal kitchen were 
classed among the king's jewels. 

The methods of manufacturing iron which were followed 
in England in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries were 
all of a slow and restricted character, although very greatly 
advanced beyond those which existed in the days of the Ro- 
mans. Cast iron in all forms appears to have been still un- 
known ; all iron was forged. The English were yet mainly 
devoted to agriculture, but were not even good farmers, their 
implements of husbandry and their methods of cultivating 
the soil being equally rude. Wool was their great staple, 
and this was largely exported to the Continent, where it was 
manufactured into finer fabrics than the English were capable 
of producing. Iron was often scarce and dear, because the 
domestic supply was insufficient. The iron industry on the 
Continent was at this period in a much more advanced stage 
of development than in England, and most of the Continent- 
al iron was also of a better quality than the English iron. V* 

Professor Rogers, in his History of Agriculture and Prices 
in England and in his Work and Wages, gives many interest- 
ing details concerning the iron industry of England in the 
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Iron was made at this 
time at Tendale in Cumberland, and at or near the city of 
Gloucester ; also in Kent and Sussex. It was doubtless made 
in many other places. Steel is frequently mentioned, the first 
reference to it being in 1267. It is not quite clear that all 
the steel used in England during the period under consider- 
ation was imported, but most of it certainly was. Much of 
the iron used was imported, frequent mention being made 
of Spanish and also of osemond iron. Osemond steel is also 
frequently mentioned. In 1281 Norman iron, of a superior 
quality, was bought for the Newgate jail. Spain appears to 
have been the principal source of the supply of imported 
iron. It is probable that the osemond iron arid steel were 


chiefly obtained in Sweden, Norway, and Germany, the os- 
mund furnace having been in use in these countries about 
this time. Iron and steel were generally bought at fairs and 
markets. The Spaniard attended the Stourbridge fair with 
his stock of iron, and iron from the Sussex forges was sold 
at the same place. The prices of iron and steel were usually 
lower near the sea and at the great towns in the south of 
England than elsewhere. Among the farmers it was custom- 
ary for the bailiff to buy the iron that might be needed on 
the farm, and to employ a smith to make the horseshoes and 
nails and to iron the implements. Rogers says that " no di- 
rect information about the seasons, scanty as it is, is so fre- 
quent as that found in the notices which the bailiff gives of 
the great cost of iron." Iron for the tires of wagons and 
carts was so dear that many wheels w T ere riot ironed. Steel 
appears to have been but little used by the farmers. 

Iron was sold in various forms. The iron made at the 
works at Tendale was sold in the form of blooms in 1333 
and subsequently. Blooms w r ere sold as early as 1318, but 
the place of their manufacture is not given. Slabs and bars 
of iron are also mentioned, but the commonest form in which 
iron was sold was the "piece," twenty-five pieces making a 
hundred-weight. " The small fagot of iron, each bar of which 
weighed a little over four pounds, was kept by the bailiff, and 
served as occasion required for the various uses of the farm." 
The Tendale bloom weighed about one hundred pounds, and 
having to be reworked was sold at a much lower price than 
other forms of iron. Steel was usually sold by the garb, or 
sheaf, each sheaf containing thirty small pieces, the weight of 
which is not stated. Rogers supposes that the pieces of iron 
and steel were of about the same weight, and that the price 
of steel was about four times the price of iron. Occasional 
mention is made of steel which was sold by the cake ; it was 
" a little higher in value and much greater in weight than 
the garb." Steel made in the forges of Styria and other Aus- 
trian provinces is still produced in the form of a large cake. 

Plow-shoes, which appear to have been iron points to wood- 
en shares, are of frequent occurrence in the accounts quoted 
by Rogers, and so are lath and board nails, clouts and clout 
nails, and horseshoes and horseshoe nails. Horseshoes were 


not purchased from the smiths until about the close of the 
fourteenth century; down to that time the smiths were sup- 
plied by the bailiffs with the iron for their manufacture. 
" Hinges, staples, and bolts were occasionally manufactured 
by the village smith from iron supplied him by the bailiff, 
but were more frequently bought at the market-town or fair." 
Iron mattocks and hoes were used in the fourteenth century, 
as were iron sickles, scythes, and hay and other forks. Iron 
teeth for harrows were unknown, and it may be added that 
they were not much used in England until the seventeenth 
century. Domestic utensils of iron were not in general use ; 
pots and similar articles used in the kitchen were usually of 
brass. A brass jug and pan are mentioned in 1272, a brass 
jug and basin in 1360, and two brass pots in 1383. Such iron 
utensils as were in use appear to have been made of wrought 
iron. Tinware was certainly unknown. Hammers, axes, pick- 
axes, and other tools were made of iron. Iron hoops were 
used for buckets and grain measures in the fourteenth cent- 
ury ; " the iron-bound bucket that hung in the well " had an 
existence as early at least as 1331. 

Other authorities mention that arrow-heads Avere manufac- 
tured at Sheffield in the thirteenth century, and that knives 
were manufactured at the same place in the fourteenth cent- 
ury, as they are to-day. Chaucer, who wrote his Canterbury 
Tales near the close of the latter century, in describing the 
miller of Trompingtoii says that " a Schefeld thwytel bar he 
in his hose." Birmingham was then, as it is now, a centre 
of the manufacture of swords, tools, and nails. 

Smiles pays a deserved compliment to the English smith, 
to whom England owes so much of its greatness. In. Anglo- 
Saxon times his person was protected by a double penalty, 
and he was treated as an officer of the highest rank. The 
forging of swords was then his great specialty. William the 
Conqueror did much to exalt the art of the smith, to whom 
he was greatly indebted for his victory at Hastings, his 
soldiers being better armed than those of the Saxon Harold. 
At the close of the fourteenth century the smith had fairly 
entered upon the brilliant career which has since contributed 
so much to the industrial pre-eminence of England. Mr. 
Picton, in a recent address, says : " Iron work at this period 


was of the most elaborate description. The locks and keys, 
the hinges and bolts, the smith's work in gates and screens, 
exceed in beauty anything of the kind which has since been 
produced." In a lecture before the Society of Arts in 1883 
Mr. George H. Birch gives a pleasing description of the use- 
ful and ornamental treatment of iron by English and Conti- 
nental smiths from the twelfth to the seventeenth century, 
dwelling especially upon the elaborate and beautiful hinges, 
railings, screens, and locks that are still preserved in ecclesi- 
astical and other structures of mediaeval and later origin. 

In the fourteenth century cannon were used in England 
and on the Continent, although Appleton's Cyclopaedia gives 
us dates of their earlier use. The year-book of the town of 
Ghent, in Holland, dated 1313, says : " In this year was intro- 
duced the use of guns in Germany by a monk." This monk's 
name was Berthold Schwartz. A statue to his memory was 
erected at Freiburg in 1853. France, according to Scrivenor, 
appears to have used cannon as early as 1338, in which year 
it is stated that the government had an account with Henry 
de Faumichan "for gunpowder and other things necessary 
for the cannon at the siege of Puii Guillaume." Scrivenor 
says that " in the year 1327 we hear of cannon, which are then 
supposed to have been first used in England by Edward the 
Third in his invasion of Scotland." An English writer, Mr. 
C.-D. Archibald, is said by Lower to have presented strong 
reasons for the belief that cannon were used by Edward in 
his expedition against the Scots in the year mentioned. Eng- 
land made prominent use of cannon in field warfare at the 
battle of Cressy and the siege of Calais in the year 1346, 
when the bowmen of Edward the Third were drawn up "in 
the form of a harrow," with small bombards between them, 
" which, with fire, threw little iron balls to frighten the 
horses." These bombards were made of "iron bars joined 
together longitudinally, and strengthened by exterior hoops of 
iron." But the archers of the English army continued to be 
the main reliance of the English kings for many years after 
Edward's first use of the bombards, and on the Continent 
gunpowder did not come into general use until the sixteenth 
century. At the battle of Pavia, in 1525, the matchlock was 
first used effectively, and it was then fired from a rest. 





DURING the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries the manufac- 
ture of iron in England was greatly extended. The encour- 
agement which Edward the Third and his immediate succes- 
sors had given to the immigration of foreign workmen into 
England had resulted in the settlement in the country of 
many Flemish and French ironworkers, whose skill was ea- 
gerly sought by many landed proprietors who entered with 
zeal into the manufacture of iron. Sussex became the prin- 
cipal seat of this industry ; it possessed iron ores and forests 
of timber, the latter supplying the necessary charcoal for fuel, 
and small streams furnished the requisite power to drive the 
iron mills." As one marked result of the extension of the 
iron manufacture in England at this time the dependence of 
the country upon foreign sources of supply was greatly les- 
sened, so much so that in 1483 an act was passed prohibiting 
the importation of gridirons, grates, iron wire, knives, hinges, 
scissors, and many other manufactured articles of iron or 
steel which competed with like articles of domestic produc- 
tion. Landrin, however, states that fine tools were still im- 
ported into England from Bilbao, in Spain, as late as 1548. 
As early as the beginning of the fifteenth century blast 
furnaces were introduced into England from the Continent, 
and this event gave a fresh impetus to the iron industry of 
Sussex, Kent, Surrey, and other sections. Prior to the intro- 
duction of blast furnaces all iron that was made in England 
was produced in Catalan forges or high bloomaries directly 
from the ore, and was, therefore, when finished, wrought, or 
bar, iron. The bloomaries were doubtless modeled after the 
Continental stuckofen ; indeed the English high bloomary was 
probably the exact counterpart of the stuckofen. The first 
blast furnaces introduced into England were also probably the 
same in all respects as the flussofen, or blauofen, or the liaut 
fourneau, of the Continent. 


The exact date of the erection of the first blast furnace 
in England is unknown. Lower, in his account of the iron 
industry of Sussex, mentions an iron casting which was made 
in the fourteenth century. Mushet supposes that iron was 
cast in the Forest of Dean in 1540, and he says that the oldest 
piece of cast iron he ever saw bore the initials " E. R." and 
the date "1555." Lower quotes some cast-iron inscriptions 
in Sussex which are dated 1581, 1582, and 1591. But even 
the earliest of these years is clearly not sufficiently early to 
be accepted as marking the period when blast furnaces were 
introduced into England. Camden, who lived between 1551 
and 1623, says of Sussex : " Full of iron mines it is in sundry 
places, where, for the making and founding thereof, there be 
furnaces on every side, and a huge deal of wood is yearly 
burnt." He also says that the heavy forge-hammers, which 
were mostly worked by water-power, stored in hammer-ponds, 
beating upon the iron, "fill the neighborhood round about, 
day and night, with continual noise." In 1607 John Norden 
stated in a printed document that " there are or lately were in 
Sussex neere 140 hammers and furnaces for iron." In 1612 
Simon Sturtevant said that there were then in England, Scot- 
land, Ireland, and Wales " 800 furnaces, forges, or iron mills" 
making iron with charcoal, of which Dud Dudley, a few years 
later, estimated that about 300 were furnaces, the weekly prod- 
uct of which was about 15 tons each. The furnaces would be 
partly employed in making pots, kettles, mill machinery, and 
other castings direct from the ore. In the sixteenth century, 
as has already been stated, several furnaces were built in the 
Forest of Dean to rework the cinder which was found there in 
large quantities. The first furnaces built in the Forest were 
15 feet high and 6 feet wide at the boshes. The furnaces at 
work in the Forest in 1677 were blown with bellows 20 feet 
long, driven by " a great wheel," turned by water. 

Lower says that about 1557 " several Sussex families, en- 
riched by the iron manufacture, assumed the rank of gentry." 
Smiles says that "the iron manufacture of Sussex reached its 
height toward the close of the reign of Elizabeth, when the 
trade became so prosperous that, instead of importing iron, 
England began to export it in considerable quantities in the 
shape of iron ordnance." This ordnance was cast, and the 


time referred to was the latter part of the sixteenth century. 
Bronze cannon had succeeded the bombards about the begin- 
ning of that century, and as early as 1543 cast-iron cannon 
were made in Sussex, at a place called Bucksteed, by Ralph 
Hogge, who employed a Frenchman named Peter Baude as 
his assistant. " Many great guns " were subsequently cast in 
Sussex, John Johnson and his son, Thomas Johnson, the 
former a servant of Peter Baude, being prominent in their 
manufacture. John Johnson is said to have " succeeded and 
exceeded his master in this his art of casting ordnance, mak- 
ing them cleaner and to better perfection." About 1595 the 
weight of some of the cannon cast in Sussex amounted to 
three tons each. At a later period, in 1648, Bishop Wilkins 
says in his Matliematicall Magick that " a whole cannon weigh- 
ed commonly 8,000 pounds, a half cannon 5,000, a culverin 
4,500, a demi-culverin 3,000. A whole cannon required for 
every charge 40*pounds of powder and a bullet of 64 pounds." 

But a still greater honor is claimed for Peter Baude than 
that with which his name is above associated. Stow, in his 
Chronicle, quoted by Froude and Smiles, says that two foreign 
workmen, whom Henry the 'Eighth tempted into his service, 
first invented shells. "One Peter Baude, a Frenchman-born, 
and another alien called Peter Van Cullen, a gunsmith, both 
the king's feed men, conferring together, devised and caused 
to be made certain mortar pieces, being at the mouth from 
11 inches unto 19 inches wide, for the use whereof they caus- 
ed to be made certain hollow shot of cast iron, to be stuffed 
with fire-work or wild-fire, whereof the bigger sort for the 
same had screws of iron to receive a match to carry fire 
kindled, that the fire-work might be set on fire for to break 
in pieces the same hollow shot, whereof the smallest piece 
hitting any man would kill or spoil him." Lower gives the 
name of the " alien " above referred to as " Peter Van Collet, 
a Flemish gunsmith." 

There is deposited in the library of the Historical Society 
of Pennsylvania, at Philadelphia, a stone caDnon-ball, one of 
twenty-three which are said to have been fired at the boat in 
which Queen Mary and Douglass made their escape from 
Loch Leven in 1568. It is about nine inches in diameter, is 
round, but not smooth, and weighs probably fifteen pounds. 


The exportation of cast-iron cannon became so extensive 
that complaint was made that Spain armed her ships with 
them to fight the ships of England, and the trade was for a 
time prohibited. But their manufacture continued on a large 
scale. Hume says that " shipbuilding and the founding of 
iron cannon were the sole manufactures in which the English 
excelled in James the First's reign/' from 1603 to 1625. In 
1629 the crown ordered 600 cannon to be cast for the States 
of Holland. England, however, continued to import from 
the Continent, but particularly from Sweden, Germany, and 
Spain, some of the finer qualities of iron and considerable 
quantities of steel. 

Before 1568 all iron wire that was made in England was 
" drawn by main strength alone," according to Camden. The 
Germans, says this author, then introduced into the Forest of 
Dean and elsewhere the art of drawing it by a mill. Pre- 
vious to the year mentioned the larger part of the iron wire 
and ready-made wool-cards used in England was imported. 
Scrivenor quotes Williams's History of Monmouthshire' as au- 
thority for the statement that the iron and wire works near 
Tintern Abbey were erected by Germans. There can be no 
doubt that the iron industry of England in the fourteenth, 
fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries was greatly indebted to the 
inventive genius and mechanical skill of German, Flemish, 
French, and other emigrants from Continental countries. 

Near the close of the sixteenth century there was intro- 
duced into England an invention for slitting flattened bars of 
iron into strips called nail-rods. This invention was the slit- 
ting mill. Scrivenor, upon the authority of Gough's Camden, 
states that Godfrey Bochs, of Liege, Belgium, set up at Dart- 
ford, in 1590, "the first iron mill for slitting bars." Dart- 
ford is a market town in Kent. Another story associates the 
name of " the founder of the Foley family, who was a fiddler 
living ne^ft 1 Stourbridge," with the honor of introducing the 
first slitting mill into England, a knowledge of which he sur- 
reptitiously gained by visiting Swedish iron works and fid- 
dling for the workmen. Percy states that Richard Foley, the 
founder of the Foley family at Stourbridge, who was first a 
seller of nails and afterwards a forgemaster, died in 1657 at 
the age of 80 years. In 1606 and 1618 patents were granted 


.in England to Sir Davis Buhner and Clement Dawbeny, re- 
spectively, for cutting iron into nail-rods by water-power. 

The slitting mill, by whomsoever invented and perfected, 
greatly benefited the nail trade of England. Birmingham be- 
came the centre of this industry, and it was here, probably, 
that scantily-clad and poorly-paid women and girls were first 
regularly employed in England in the manufacture of nails. 
Hutton, who is quoted by Young in his Labor in Europe and 
America, says that in 1741 they were thus employed in the 
numerous blacksmith shops of Birmingham, " wielding the 
hammer with all the grace of their sex." They were called 
" nailers." Women and children are still employed at Bir- 
mingham and its vicinity in making nails and chains, and 
their condition is usually wretched and pitiable. Machinery 
was not applied to the manufacture of nails in any country 
until near the close of the eighteenth century. Nail-cutting 
machinery is an American invention. 

Leland, a writer in the time of Henry the Eighth, (1509 
to 1547,) refers to Birmingham as follows : " There be many 
smithes in the towne that use to make knives and all man- 
ner of cutting tooles, and many lorimers (saddlers) that make 
bittes, and a great many naylors ; so that a great part of the 
towne is maintained by smithes, whoe have their iron and 
sea-cole out of Staffordshire." He also says : " The beauty 
of Birmingham, a good market towne in the extreame parts 
of Warwickshire, is one street going up alonge almost from 
the left ripe of the brooke, up a meane hill by the length 
of a quarter of a mile. I saw but one paroch church in the 
towne." Camden, who wrote half a century later, describes 
Birmingham as "swarming with inhabitants and echoing 
with the noise of anvils." 

The art of tinning iron was first practiced in Bohemia, 
and in 1620 it was introduced into Saxony. These countries 
for some time supplied all Europe with tin plates. The dis- 
covery of tin in Bohemia is said by Flower, in his History 
of the Trade in Tin, to date from 1240. In 1681 Andrew Yar- 
raiiton asserted that tin plates were then made in England 
through his means, he having learned the art of making 
them in Saxony in 1665. The exact date of the introduc- 
tion of the manufacture of tin plates into England by Yar- 


ranton is said to have been 1670. The first attempt to estab- 
lish the new industry in England was made at Poiitypool, in 
Monmouthshire, in that year, but it was not successfully es- 
tablished there until 1720. Scrivenor states that in 1740 the 
art "was brought to considerable perfection in England." 

But, notwithstanding the progress which had been made 
in the development of the English iron trade, especially in 
the reigns of Henry the Eighth, Elizabeth, and James the 
First, an influence was at work which was destined to weigh 
heavily for a hundred and fifty years upon all further devel- 
opment. This was the growing scarcity of wood for the use 
of the forges and furnaces, mineral fuel, or pit-coal, not yet 
having come into use as a substitute for wood in these works. 
The forests of England in the ironmaking districts had been 
largely consumed by the " voragious " iron works, and there 
were loud complaints that the whole community would be 
unable to obtain fuel for domestic purposes if this denuda- 
tion were persisted in. In response to these complaints an 
act was passed in 1558, the first year of the reign of Eliza- 
beth, which prohibited the cutting of timber in certain parts 
of the country for conversion into coal or fuel " for the mak- 
ing of iron," special exception being made of the weald of 
Kent, the county of Sussex, and certain parishes "high in 
the weald of the county of Surrey." In 1563 a royal decree 
was issued abolishing the " bloomeries," or "iron smithies," in 
Furness in Lancashire, in compliance with a petition of the 
inhabitants, " because they consumed all the loppings and 
croppings, the sole winter food for their cattle." In 1581 an 
act to prevent the destruction of timber was passed, which 
set forth the increasing scarcity of timber for fuel in conse- 
quence of "the late erection of sundry iron mills in divers 
places not far distant from the city of London and the sub- 
urbs of the same, or from the downs and sea-coast of Sus- 
sex," and provided that " no new iron works should be erect- 
ed within twenty-two miles of London, nor within fourteen 
miles of the river Thames," nor in certain parts of Sussex 
near the sea ; nor should any wood within the limits de- 
scribed, with certain exceptions, be converted " to coal or 
other fewel, for the making of iron-metal in any iron-mill, 
furnace, or hammer." A more sweeping act was passed in 


1584, which prohibited the erection of any new iron works 
in Surrey, Kent, and Sussex, and ordered that no timber one 
foot square at the stub should be used as fuel " at any iron 
work." It is said that these restrictions were not very rig- 
idly enforced, but they served to narrow the limits within 
which the manufacture of iron could be conducted, although 
they did not abridge the manufacture itself. Lower says 
that, in the early part of the reign of Charles the First, who 
was beheaded in 1649, "the number of mills and furnaces 
had increased yearly, in spite of the statutes limiting their 
extension, and the waste of timber was again brought before 
the notice of government." This increase, however, was prob- 
ably in districts of the country which had not previously been 
largely devoted to the manufacture of iron. Dudley, in his 
Mettallwn Martis, says that about 1620 there were nearly 20,- 
000 smiths of all sorts within ten miles of Dudley Castle, in 
Staffordshire, and that there w T ere also "many iron works at 
that time within that circle decayed for want of w r ood (yet 
formerly a mighty woodland country)." 

About the middle of the seventeenth century the British 
iron industry experienced a serious check through the civil 
commotion known as the Cromwellian Rebellion which then 
prevailed. Many of the forges and furnaces in Sussex and 
in the south of Wales were destroyed, and they were not 
again rebuilt. Soon after the Restoration all the royal iron 
works in the Forest of Dean wer destroyed, owing to the 
scarcity of timber. There was then much apprehension felt 
lest the Forest of Dean should fail to supply timber for the 
royal navy. Owing to the scarcity of timber many of the 
iron works in Kent, Sussex, and Surrey, and in the north of 
England were "laid down" in 1676, and England's supply 
of iron was largely derived from " Sweadland, Flanders, and 

Notwithstanding these severe checks the iron industry of 
England bravely refused to be utterly destroyed, and as late 
as 1720 it was still second in importance to the manufacture 
of woolen goods. In 1724 it was the chief industry of Sus- 
sex. In 1740, however, only 59 furnaces were left in all 
England and Wales, and their total production was but 17,- 
350 tons of pig iron, or about 294 tons for each furnace. All 


these furnaces may not have been in blast, as it has been 
stated that, ten years later, in 1750, each of the charcoal fur- 
naces of Monmouthshire produced 24 tons of iron in a week. 
Ten of the furnaces existing in 1740 were in Sussex, but in 
1788 only two of these were left, and in 1796 only one is 
mentioned. In 1740 there were 10 charcoal furnaces in the 
Forest of Dean. Pig iron is still made in this district, but 
with coke as fuel. The iron industry of Kent, Sussex, and 
Surrey is now extinct. The last furnace in the weald of 
Sussex, at Ashburnham, was blown out in 1829. 

During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries England 
imported iron largely from Sweden, and in the latter century 
both Russia and the American colonies contributed to her 
supply. The scarcity of timber for fuel for blast furnaces in 
England continuing, a proposition was made in the British 
Parliament in 1737 to bring all pig iron from the British col- 
onies in America; and in 1750, to facilitate the importation 
of pig iron from these colonies, the duty which had previous- 
ly been imposed for the protection of British pig-iron manu- 
facturers was repealed. At this time the business of manu- 
facturing pig iron in some parts of Great Britain was still 
conducted upon such primitive principles that both charcoal 
and iron ore were carried to the furnaces of Monmouthshire 
on the backs of horses. 

About the middle of the eighteenth century mineral fuel 
in the form of coke came into general use in the manufacture 
of pig iron in England, and the iron trade of that country 
and Wales at once revived, while that of Scotland may be 
said to have been created by the new fuel. As early as the 
beginning of the preceding century the celebrated and unfort- 
unate Dud Dudley and others had experimented in England 
in the manufacture of iron with coke, but the first contin- 
uous and completely successful use of mineral fuel in the 
blast furnace was by Abraham Darby, of Shropshire, at his 
furnace at Coalbrookdale, in 1735, or 'possibly a year or two 
earlier. This coal was coked. The new fuel was at once in- 
troduced at other furnaces in England. Raw coal had previ- 
ously been used in refineries. In 1740 a coke furnace was 
built at Pontypool, in Monmouthshire. In 1796 charcoal fur- 
naces had been almost entirely abandoned in Great Britain. 


Mr. Robert Hunt thus describes the early attempts that 
were made in England to manufacture iron with mineral fuel. 

In the time of King James several patents for the manufacture of iron 
with pit-coal were granted, but with little success, till Dud Dudley, in 1619, 
succeeded in making coke pig iron at the rate of three tons per week. Pre- 
viously, in 1612, Simon Sturtevant, and, in 1613, Eavenzon, made experiments 
in the same direction, but without success. During the Commonwealth pat- 
ents were also granted, in one of which Oliver Cromwell was a partner. 
Again, in 1663, Dud Dudley secured his last patent, setting forth that at one 
time he was capable of producing seven tons of coke pig iron each week, the 
furnace being twenty-seven feet square, the blast impelled by bellows, which 
one man could work for an hour without being much tired. It was not, how- 
ever, till the beginning of the 18th century that the successful application of 
coal, previously coked, was solved by Abraham Darby, of the Coalbrookdale 
iron works, Shropshire, giving a new and greater impetus to the iron indus- 
tries of the kingdom. 

The manufacture of pig iron with mineral fuel was great- 
ly facilitated by the invention of a cylindrical cast-iron bel- 
lows by John Smeaton in 1760, to take the place of wooden 
or leather bellows, and by the improvements made in the 
steam engine by James Watt about 1769, both these valuable 
accessions to blast-furnace machinery being used for the first 
time, through the influence of Dr. Roebuck, at the Carron 
iron works in Scotland. The effect of their introduction was 
to greatly increase the blast and consequently to increase the 
production of iron. The blast, however, continued to be cold 
at all furnaces, both coke and charcoal, and so remained un- 
til 1828, when James Beaumont Neilson, of Scotland, invented 
the hot-blast, which is now in general use in Great Britain 
and other ironmaking countries. 

These and other changes in the manufacture of pig iron 
were accompanied by equally important improvements in the 
manufacture of wrought, or finished, iron. In 1783 Henry 
Cort, of Gosport, England, obtained a patent for rolling iron 
into bars with grooved iron rolls, and in the following year 
he obtained a patent for converting pig iron into malleable 
iron by means of a puddling furnace. These patents did not 
relate to entirely new inventions in the -manufacture of iron 
but to important improvements on existing methods, which 
had not, however, been generally employed. John Payne and 
Major Hanbury . rolled sheet iron as early as 1728 at Pon- 
typool, and patents were granted for grooved rolls to other 


Englishmen before Cort's day. From Cort's time forward 
bituminous coal was used in the puddling furnace as well as 
in the blast furnace, but in its raw state. To the important 
improvements introduced by Cort the iron trade of Great 
Britain is greatly indebted. The refining of pig iron in for- 
ges and its subsequent conversion into bars and plates under 
a hammer formed the only general method of producing fin- 
ished iron down to Cort's day, both in Great Britain and on. 
the Continent, and it was wholly inadequate to the produc- 
tion of large quantities of iron of this character. With min- 
eral fuel, powerful blowing engines, the puddling furnace, and 
grooved "rolls Great Britain rapidly passed to the front of all 
ironmaking nations. But the foundation of this progress was 
the possession of mineral fuel, or pit-coal, of superior quality 
and in large and apparently inexhaustible quantities. On the 
Continent at this time the pit-coal which had been developed 
was supposed to be unsuited to the manufacture of iron. Ow- 
ing to this belief and to the demoralization of all industries 
caused by the Napoleonic wars coke pig iron was not made 
on the Continent until 1826, when John Cockerill successfully 
introduced the use of coke at a blast furnace at Seraing. 

Steel was largely made in England as early as 1609, and 
most probably in cementation furnaces, the product being 
known as blister steel and shear steel. The manufacture of 
steel by cementation did not, however, originate in England, 
but on the Continent. In the year mentioned John Hawes 
held the site of the Abbey of Robertsbridge in Sussex, upon 
which were eight steel " furnaces." The invention of crucible 
cast steel originated with Benjamin Huntsman, an English 
clockmaker, at Sheffield, in 1740, and not only Sheffield, the 
principal seat of its manufacture and of the manufacture of 
all kinds of cutlery, but all England as well has greatly prof- 
ited by his discovery. The manufacture of cemented steel 
also became a leading industry of Sheffield in the eighteenth 

At the beginning of the seventeenth century Sheffield 
contained 2,207 persons ; at the census of 1881 it had 284,- 
508. As late as 1736 the population of Sheffield was only 
10,121. A curious document sets forth that, " by a survaie of 
the towne of Sheffild, made the second daie of Januarie, 1615, 


by twenty-four of the most sufficient inhabitants there, it 
appeareth that there are in the towne of Sheffild 2,207 peo- 
ple ; of which there are 725 which are not able to live with- 
out the charity of their neighbours ; these are all begging 
poore. One hundred householders which relieve others. These 
(though the best sorte) are but poor artificers; among them 
there is not one that can keep a teame on his own land, and 
not above tenn that have ground of their own that can keep 
a cow. One hundred and sixty householders not able to re- 
lieve others. These are such (although they beg not) as 
are not able to abide the storme of one fortnight's sickness, 
but would be thereby driven to beggary. One thousand two 
hundred and twenty-two children and servants of the said 
householders, the greatest part of which are such as live of 
small wages, and are constrained to work sore to provide 
them necessaries." 

Benjamin Huntsman was born in Lincolnshire, England, 
in 1704, of German parents, and died at Attercliffe, near 
Sheffield, on June 20, 1776. He was a member of the So- 
ciety of Friends. 

Robert Hunt was born at Devonport, England, on Sep- 
tember 1, 1807, and died at Chelsea, England, on October 17, 

Dr. John Percy was born at Nottingham, England, on 
March 23, 1817, and died at Paddington, England, on June 
19, 1889. 

Professor James E. Thorold Rogers was born at West 
Meoii, in Hampshire, England, in 1823, and died at Oxford, 
England, on October 13, 1890. 




IN preceding chapters relating to the British iron indus- 
try our attention has been wholly occupied with the details 
of its development in England. We will now turn to the 
early iron industry of Wales, Ireland, and Scotland. 

It has already been stated that iron was made in Wales 
during the Roman occupation of Britain. As the Welsh 
were a somewhat exclusive and practically an independent 
people down to a comparatively recent period it may be as- 
sumed that they have never since ceased to make iron, al- 
though we have found no details of its manufacture by them 
prior to the sixteenth century. At Crickhowell, in Brecknock- 
shire, there were to be found a few years ago large quantities 
of scoria of supposed Roman origin. In the sixteenth centu- 
ry, owing to the scarcity of timber in England, some of the 
ironmasters of Sussex emigrated to Glamorganshire, in South 
Wales, where they founded the iron works of Aberdare and 
other iron works. Remains of the works in the Aberdare 
valley still exist. At Pontypool, on the Welsh border, a blast 
furnace was built by Capel Hanbury in 1565, to smelt the 
Roman cinder which was found there, and about 1620 " the 
Hanburys" are said to have built iron works at Llanelly. 
The development of the extensive iron industry of Merthyr 
Tydvil appears to date from about 1755, when the Dowlais 
iron works were established, although iron i said to have 
been made at Merthyr as long ago as 1660. In 1770 the 
first coke furnace in South Wales was built at Cyfarthfa. In 
1788 there were six coke furnaces in South Wales. Cort's 
inventions were promptly appropriated by Welsh ironmasters. 
The first successful manufacture of pig iron with anthracite 
coal was accomplished by George Crane, an Englishman, at 
Yniscedwin, in Wales, in 1837. 

Merthyr, at one time called the iron metropolis of Wales, 
is said to owe its name to Tydvil, the daughter of Brychan, 


the king of the district and a very devout old man, who was 
murdered in 420 by a party of marauding Saxons, or, as 
stated by others, Irish Picts, together with her father and 
brother. A church was erected on the spot to her memory 
and named after her, Merthyr Tydvil, or Tydvil the Martyr. 
Tydvil is not an uncommon feminine name in Wales to-day. 

According to Scrivenor, iron-ore mines w:ere opened in 
Ireland by the English who settled in the country during the 
reign of Elizabeth, and iron itself was extensively manufac- 
tured in Ireland by the English during the reign of James 
the First and afterwards. The most extensive works were in 
the provinces of Munster, Connaught, and Ulster, and in the 
counties of Queens, Kings, and Thomond. In some instances 
iron ore was taken from England to the sea-coast of Ulster 
and Munster in Ireland, the latter country then abounding in 
forests, but generally Ireland supplied both the ore and fuel. 
Most of the iron produced was in bars from forges, but ord- 
nance, pots, and other articles were also cast in foundries or 
furnaces. The Rebellion of 1641 put an end to many of the 
English iron works in Ireland, some valuable works in the 
county of Mayo escaping. In 1660 Sir William Petty estab- 
lished extensive iron works in the county of Kerry, which 
continued in operation until the middle of the eighteenth 
century, when they were stopped in consequence of the scar- 
city of timber. In 1672 Sir William stated that one thou- 
sand tons of iron were then made in Ireland. Near the close 
of the seventeenth century an act of the British Parliament 
remitted the duties on bar iron and on iron slit and ham- 
mered into bars imported from Ireland, the manufacturing 
industries of Ireland being then greatly depressed. The iron 
industry of Ireland survived until the reign of George the 
Second, in the early part of the eighteenth century, when it 
came to an end in consequence of the scarcity of timber, the 
competition of English iron, and the unsettled condition of 
the country. An effort was made to revive it at the close of 
the century, but it met with slight success. 

In 1840 there were no iron works in Ireland " going on," 
and in 1857 there was only one furnace standing in Ireland. 
There are now no iron works in the country. Irish ores were 
exported to the United States in 1879 and 1880, and in more 


recent years. In 1888 County Antrim in Ireland produced 
129,235 tons of iron ore, and a small quantity was also 
produced in County Roscommon. ' In 1889 County Antrim 
produced 164,686 tons, but no ore was produced in County 
Roscommon. In all Ireland there were mined 91,904 tons 
of coal in 1888 and 103,201 tons in 1889. 

It has already been incidentally stated that iron was very 
scarce in Scotland in the closing centuries of the middle ages, 
the Scotch people obtaining nearly all their supplies of iron 
at that time from other countries. The Scotch, however, 
were noted during the period mentioned for the excellence 
of their swords and armor, the former vying in temper with 
those of Toledo, Bilbao, and Milan. In Sir Walter Scott's 
story of The Fair Maid of Perth, the incidents of which are 
supposed to have occurred during the last years of the four- 
teenth century, the hero, Henry Gow, is an armorer, a forger 
of swords and bucklers and coats-of-mail. In 1547 an Eng- 
lish chronicler wrote that "the Scots came with swords all 
broad and thin, of exceeding good temper, and universally 
so made to slice that I never saw none so good, so I think it 
hard to devise a better." 

In a paper read in 1886 before the Society of Antiquaries 
of Scotland Mr. Ivison Macadam fully described the ancient 
iron industry of Scotland. The discovery of several mounds 
of iron slag in Argyleshire and elsewhere in 1881 had led 
him to investigate their origin. A list of many old bloom- 
aries had been obtained at the time his paper was written. 
The ore used in most cases was bog ore, but occasionally red 
iron ore was used, and even clayband ore. The two last 
named may have been imported from England. The fuel was 
wood or peat charcoal, large supplies of which could be ob- 
tained in the neighborhood of most of the sites of these old 
iron works. Mr. Macadam exhibited specimens of the slag, 
charcoal, iron ores, and iron found in the ruins of the bloom- 
aries. His valuable discoveries completely establish the fact 
that the inhabitants of Scotland in early times were familiar 
with the manufacture of iron in bloomaries, probably as 
early as the eleventh or twelfth century. We have already 
mentioned that pieces of iron slag have been discovered in 
the ruins of Celtic fortified towns in the Cheviot hills, on the 


boundary between England and Scotland, which may relate 
to a still earlier period. 

Mr. Macadam gives a circumstantial account of a blast 
furnace which was erected in 1607 at Letterewe, in Ross-shire, 
Scotland, and which was successfully operated for many years. 
The foundations and other remains of this first of historic 
furnaces in Scotland are still to be seen. The furnace was 
situated on the north bank of Furnace Burn, which flows into 
Loch Maree about one mile to the south of Letterewe House. 
Sir George Hay, a native of Perthshire, was the owner of the 
furnace. An old manuscript refers to " the woods of Letter- 
ewe, where the said George Hay kept a colony and manu- 
factory of Englishmen making iron and casting great guns, 
untill the woods of it was spent and the lease of it expired." 
Pennant, in his Tour in Scotland, (1769,) mentions "the re- 
mains of a very ancient iron furnace," and adds that " Mr. 
Dounie has seen the back of a grate marked S. G. Hay, or 
Sir George Hay, who was head of a company here in the 
time of the Queen Regent." Some of the ore used was found 
in the neighborhood, but a part seems to have been brought 
by sea from England. Mr. Macadam also describes the re- 
mains of two other iron works on Loch Maree that are prob- 
ably as old at least as the Letterewe furnace, one of which, 
Fasagh, may have been a bloomary, working on bog ores, 
while the other, Red Smiddy, embraced a furnace, for the 
production of guns, grates, and other castings, and a forge 
for making wrought iron, the ores used being red hematite 
and clayband. 

Of the earliest of modern blast furnaces in Scotland Mr. 
Macadam also gives a circumstantial account. There was a 
furnace at Invergarry about 1730, which was operated by a 
Liverpool company which used imported ore, at least in part. 
Some pigs of iron, inscribed " 1732," have been found doing 
service as headstones in a disused graveyard at Gairlochy 
locks, on the Caledonian canal. A furnace w r as built at Bun- 
awe, in Argyleshire, in 1730, by an Irish company. This fur- 
nace ceased to be operated in 1866. In 1878 its machinery 
was removed to England. The ore used was imported from 
Ulverston, in Lancashire. A furnace was built in the neigh- 
borhood of Abernethy, in Strathspey, in 1730, and there were 


also attached "four furnaces for making bar iron." At this 
furnace " Glengarry " and " Strathdown " pigs were produced. 
Brown hematite l iron ore for the use of this furnace was 
brought from Tomintoul, in Banffshire, a distance of nearly 
twenty miles, " on pony back." A furnace called Craleckan, 
or Goatfield, at Inverleckan, or Furnace, on Loch Fyne, about 
eight miles distant from Inveraray, was built in 1754 by a 
Lancashire company, which brought its ore from England. 
Charcoal was taken to the furnace on the backs of a " string 
of from 30 to 40 ponies." This furnace also had a forge at- 
tached to it. The works ceased operations in 1813. The first 
blast furnace of the celebrated Carron iron works, about a 
mile from Falkirk, was built in 1759 and first put in opera- 
tion on January 1, 1760. These works are still active. 

Carron furnace was at first operated with charcoal, but 
coke was afterwards substituted. This furnace was the first 
in Scotland to use the new fuel. The manufacture of carron- 
ades was long a specialty of the Carron iron works, from 
which they took their name. In 1788 there were six coke 
furnaces in Scotland and the two charcoal furnaces of Bun- 
awe and Goatfield. 

There are now no charcoal furnaces in Scotland, none in 
Ireland or Wales, and but two in all England. These two 
furnaces were in blast in 1889. For several years they have 
produced but little iron. They are known as Newlands and 
Backbarrow, and are situated near Ulverston, in Lancashire. 
Backbarrow was built not later than 1711. Newlands was 
built in 1747. 

About 1782 two blast furnaces, known as the Devon iron 
works, were erected in Clackmannanshire, Scotland. Mr. 
Richard Meade, in his Coal and Iron Industries of the United 
Kingdom, quotes Sir John Sinclair's description of these cu- 
rious furnaces, written in 1792, which we reproduce below. 

A steep bank rises more than 90 feet from the level of the river, and 
is composed of a rock, or very thick stratum of limestone, very dry and 
uniform in its texture, and almost free from cracks and fissures. Instead 
of the usual method of building with stone and lime, the several parts of 
the works have been formed in this bank by excavations made in the 
rock. Two furnaces, which are each 40 feet high and 14 feet in diameter, 
and also the spacious arches which give access to the workmen at the bot- 
tom of the furnace, to draw off the liquid metal and slag, are cut out of 


the rock. The roof which covers the casting house, a room 70 feet long, 50 
feet wide, and 23 feet high, is supported by the sides of the quarry and 
the solid pillars of the rock that were left for the purpose in making the 
excavation. In like manner is formed the engine house and its apparatus, 
which is intended to supply the two furnaces with wind, by throwing at 
each vibration of the engine a sufficient quantity of air out of a large cylin- 
der into a long gallery or close mine formed in the rock. This magazine 
of wind will contain 10,000 cubic feet of air, much condensed by the power 
of the engine, as the gallery is very closely shut up and made air-tight, 
having only two apertures, one to receive the supply of air from the air- 
pump and the other to admit a pipe that conducts the condensed air to 
blow the two furnaces. 

Mr. Meade says that these works continued in operation 
for many years, but were stopped about the year 1858, and 
were soon afterwards dismantled. 

At the close of 1889 there were 769 blast furnaces in Great 
Britain, of which only 444 were in blast during the year. Of 
the whole number there were 635 in England and Wales and 
134 in Scotland. Of the furnaces out of blast many were 
of antiquated construction and will probably never again be 




THE eighteenth century marked a new era in all those 
branches of manufacturing industry in which the British peo- 
ple have become prominent. It was the era of machinery, 
which then began to receive general attention as a substitute 
for hand labor. This era gave to the people of Great Britain 
the manufacture of India cotton goods, and it largely increas- 
ed their woolen industry and also wonderfully developed their 
iron industry. It was in the eighteenth century that Great 
Britain, in consequence of her quick appreciation of the val- 
ue of labor-saving machinery, became the first manufacturing 
nation in the world ; in the preceding century four-fifths of 
all British workingmen were still farmers or farm laborers. 

During the latter part of the eighteenth century and the 
whole of the nineteenth century down to the present time no 
other country has occupied so conspicuous a position in the 
manufacture of iron and steel as Great Britain. Spain and 
Germany had both been more prominent in the production 
C of these essentials of modern civilization, but Great Britain 
spurned all -opposition when she began to make pig iron 
with the aid of mineral fuel and powerful blowing engines. 
She had iron ores and mineral fuel in abundance, and her 
people had applied to the utilization of these products their 
invincible energy and their newly-developed inventive genius. 
Thenceforward the lack of timber for charcoal, which had 
previously almost destroyed her -once flourishing iron indus- 
try, was no longer lamented and was but little felt. She was 
afterwards the first nation to refine pig iron in puddling 
furnaces and to make bar iron in rolling mills. France, Ger- 
many, and other Continental countries might have substi- 
tuted mineral fuel for charcoal, invented the puddling fur- 
nace, or perfected the rolling mill and the steam engine, but 
none of them did. 

The whole world is indebted to England and Scotland 


for the inventions which gave a fresh impetus to the manu- 
facture of iron in the eighteenth century. Payne and Han- 
bury, who first succeeded in rolling sheet iron; Darby, who 
first successfully and continuously used coke in the blast fur- 
nace ; Huntsman, who invented the process of making steel in 
crucibles ; Smeaton, who invented cast-iron blowing cylinders ; 
and Cort, who invented grooved rolls and the puddling fur- 
nace, were Englishmen ; while Watt, who perfected the steam 
engine, was a Scotchman. It is also indebted to the same 
countries for most of the inventions of the present century 
which have further developed the manufacture of iron and 
increased the demand for it, and which have almost created 
the manufacture of steel. Stephenson, the Englishman, im- 
proved the locomotive in 1815, and in 1825 the first passen- 
ger railroad in the world was opened in England, his loco- 
motive hauling the trains. The railroad is the greatest of 
all the consumers of iron and steel. Neilson, the Scotchman, 
invented the hot-blast in 1828 ; Crane, the Englishman, ap- 
plied it to the manufacture of pig iron with anthracite coal in 
1837 ; Nasmyth, the Scotchman, invented the steam hammer 
in 1838 and the pile-driver in 1843 ; and Bessemer, the Eng- 
lishman, invented in 1855 the process which bears his name 
and is the flower of all metallurgical achievements a share 
in the honor of this invention, however, being fairly due to 
the co-operating genius of Robert F. Mushet, also an English- 
man, but born of Scotch parentage. The Siemens regenera- 
tive gas furnace, which has been so extensively used in the 
manufacture of iron and. steel, is also an English invention, 
althougtuthje, inventors, Sir William and Frederick Siemens, 
while citizens of England, were natives of Hanover in Ger- 

It is only just to add that Sir Henry Bessemer, although 
born in England, is the son of a French refugee who settled 
in England during the French Revolution of 1789, and that 
Benjamin Huntsman, the inventor of the process for manu- 
facturing cast steel in crucibles, was the son of German pa- 
rents, although himself born in England. Mr. Goran F. G6- 
ranssoii, of Sandviken, Sweden, also assisted in perfecting the 
Bessemer process. It was, however, enterprising and sturdy 
England which nursed the genius of the great inventors we 



have mentioned who were of Continental birth or extraction, 
and it was in England that the ripe fruits of their inventions 
were first abundantly gathered. 

That Great Britain at the beginning of her manufacturing 
activity did not seek to extend the influence of her new light 
and life to other countries, but by various acts of Parliament 
sought to prevent the introduction of her inventions and the 
emigration of her skilled artisans into those countries, is not 
here a subject of comment; nor is the strict adherence of 
Great Britain to a policy of protection to home industries by 
customs duties during five centuries and down to almost the 
middle of the present century a subject of present comment. 
Both measures undoubtedly fostered the growth of British 
manufacturing industries, and in the end the world was bene- 
fited by British inventions, which found their way across the 
English channel and the Atlantic ocean, and by the example 
of British energy and British enterprise in the utilization of 
native manufacturing resources. 

The United States is to-day a ^ecognizei and formidable 

|: rival .of Great Britain in the manufacture of all forms of iron 

and steel, partly because we have abundant native resources 

for their production, and partly because we are of the same 

1 blood as the British people and their German ancestors, but 

j chiefly because we have adopted and in many instances have 

improved upon her invaluable engineering and metallurgical 

inventions, the most important of which have been briefly 

summarized in this chapter. 





EXCEPT incidentally the various processes for the manu- 
facture of iron which were in use in the early ages of the 
world's history, as well as in more recent times, have not been 
referred to in the preceding pages. Further notice of some 
of the jfrocesses that were successively in use before the begin- 
ning of the present century seems, however, to be desirable, 
if for no other reason than to show how rude and unproduc- 
tive those processes were in*- comparison with the improved 
methods which are now in use. 

The methods of manufacturing iron which were in use in 
Asia and Africa in the earliest ages were few in number and 
of extreme simplicity. They all produced wrought iron with 
the aid of wood or charcoal as fuel, although steel was also 
produced by some of them. One of these processes, still ex- 
isting in Burmah, did not require an artificial blast. A per- 
pendicular circular excavation, ten or twelve feet deep and 
open at the top, was made in the side of a bank or hillock, 
in which ore and fuel were placed in alternate layers, and to 
which the necessary draft for combustion was applied through 
one or more openings near the bottom. The product was 
a lump, or bloom, of iron. Another process applied an arti- 
ficial blast to a small excavation in the ground, or to a low 
furnace built of clay or stone and standing alone, the product 
being also a lump of iron. This artificial blast was supplied 
by a bellows which .was usually made of goat skins, having 
a nozzle, or tuyere, of bamboo and burnt clay, and worked 
by the feet or hands. It is an interesting scientific fact that 
the bellows and its tuyere, or nozzle, both of which in some 
form are in general use to-day wherever iron is made, are 
not only of prehistoric origin but are still used in all their 
primitive simplicity in the manufacture of iron. Goat- 
skin bellows are in use in India and in the interior of Africa 
to-day in connection with small furnaces. In some parts of 


India, and in China, Japan, Borneo, and Madagascar, blowing 
cylinders of wood or bamboo, having valves and pistons, and 
worked like a pump by manual labor, are now used, and were 
probably used in remote ages. The bloom of iron, whether 
produced by natural or artificial blast, was reheated and freed 
from impurities and adhering charcoal by repeated hammer- 
ing, in the course of which refining operation it was divided 
into suitable parts for practical use. The fire of the smith 
who gave to the iron its final shape was supplied with a goat- 
skin or bamboo blast. The ore which was smelted by these 
primitive processes was broken into small pieces and other- 
wise carefully prepared. In some parts of India and in sev- 
eral other Asiatic countries the ore was magnetic and well 
adapted by its purity to the manufacture of steel. 

The manner in which the *air was expelled from the 
goat-skin bellows of antiquity doubtless varied in different 
countries, but the pressure of the feet of one workman on 
two such bellows, each attached to a nozzle, or tuyere, was 
probably the method in most general use. This method is 
still used in Africa. Wilkinson, in his Manners and Customs 
of the Ancient Egyptians, quoted by Day, mentions his discov- 
ery at Thebes, on the walls of a tomb built in the reign of 
Thothmes the Third, about fifteen centuries before the Chris- 
tian era, of the picture of an Egyptian furnace and bellows, 
with two workmen engaged in expelling with their feet the 
air from as many pairs of bellows, " consisting of flexible 
bags formed of the skins of animals, and each provided with 
a cord which the operator holds in his hands. From each of 
these flexible bags a tube proceeds into the heap of fuel and 
ore, and the blast is produced by the operator transferring the 
weight of his body alternately from one foot to the other. 
The bags are inflated by pulling up the upper part by the 
cord, this upper part having a hole or valve therein for al- 
lowing the air to enter, and which is closed by the heel of 
the operator on his^again transferring his weight to it." 

At a later period, in the days of Ezekiel, about six centu- 
ries before Christ, the use of a more powerful bellows than 
that above described is clearly implied. In the 22d chapter 
and 20th vers^ of the book of the prophet referred to we read 
as follows : "As they gather silver, and brass, and iron, and 


lead, and tin into the midst of the furnace, to blow the fire 
upon it, to melt it, so will I gather you in mine anger and 
in my fury, and I will leave you there and melt you." 

The celebrated Indian steel, or wootz, which is chiefly used 
in the manufacture of sword blades, is obtained at the pres- 
ent time by remelting pieces of native iron in small crucibles 
which are only a few inches high, containing finely-chopped 
wood, the crucibles being placed in a furnace heated with a 
blast supplied by bellows usually made of goat skins or bam- 
boo cylinders. More than two thousand years ago the proc- 
ess was substantially the same that it is now. It is described 
by Aristotle, who lived in the fourth century before Christ. 

The method of manufacturing Indian steel in the Trichi- 
nopoly district in India in our day is fully described by the 
East Indian Engineer in the following words, which plainly 
suggest- the crucible process perfected by Huntsman. 

The process employed is very simple. Small quantities of iron are en- 
closed in a small earthen crucible with a few pieces of the wood of the ava- 
rain plant and two or three green leaves. A top is luted on, and, when dry, 
the whole is exposed to the heat of a small charcoal furnace till the iron is 
melted, a fact which the operator ascertains by picking up the crucibles in a 
long pincer and shaking them. The vessels are allowed to cool, and are 
then broken open, when a knob of steel is found at the bottom. Two sizes 
of ingots are made, weighing about 8 ounces and 10 1 ounces respectively. 
The crucibles consist of a mixture of red earth and charcoal, made of paddy 
husks, kneaded together. The lid is of the same material and put on wet. 
It appears hardly to contract at all in drying, and a fairly air-tight vessel is 
consequently produced. The clay is not nearly refractory enough for the 
heat it is exposed to, as the crucibles are completely vitrified and spoilt at 
the end of a single operation. 

The iron used is brought from the Namakal Taluk, of Salem, and ap- 
pears to be a rough description of wrought iron. For the smaller size of in- 
got it is cut into pieces weighing as nearly as possible 10 ounces, (a .small 
piece is added to make up the weight, if necessary,) and this quantity is 
placed in each crucible with | of an ounce of pieces of the dry wood of the 
avaram plant. Two or three green leaves (the kind is a matter of no conse- 
quence) are placed on the top, and the charge is closed up with a lump of 
clay carefully plastered all round. Great care is taken in putting in the cor- 
rect proportions of iron and avaram wood, and the operators assert that, if 
less is used, the iron is not melted, and, if more, it will not stand being 
worked afterwards. The green leaves probably serve in some way toward 
retarding the drying of the lid and preventing it from cracking. 

The furnace consists of an inverted cone of earth worlAbout two feet in 
diameter and the same in depth, the apex opening into an ash-pit below. 
At one side, and protected from the heat by a mud w r all, is a small shed in 


which two bellowsmen sit and work a couple of skin bellows most vigorous- 
ly. The air is admitted into the furnace through a hole near the bottom. 
In preparing a furnace some straw is first placed at the bottom below the 
air-hole and charcoal is then thrown in to a suitable height. On this twen- 
ty-five of these conical crucibles are placed with the point downward, and, 
when all are in position they appear to form a sort of circle, and to be inde- 
pendent of the layer of charcoal below. More charcoal is placed above, and 
the furnace is then lighted through the air-hole. Fresh -fuel is thrown on 
above from time to time, and one or two of the crucibles are occasionally 
lifted with long-handled pincers to allow the burning charcoal to fall 
through and replenish the supply below. The straw remains untouched by 
the fire throughout the process. The crucibles are given a sharp shake on 
these occasions, which is said to assist the process, and towards its conclusion 
allows of the operators ascertaining whether the iron is melted or not. 

As the mouth of the furnace is open, the waste of fuel is enormous. Af- 
ter about an hour or an hour and a half the feel of a crucible, when lifted, 
shows its contents to be liquid. The process is then considered to be com- 
pleted, and the crucibles are allowed to cool, after which they are broken 
open, a knob of steel being found at the bottom of each. The ingots are re- 
heated and hammered into oblong pieces, in which shape they are sold. All 
the crucibles do not remain absolutely air-tight during the process, the lids 
becoming cracked without affecting the result. 

The methods by which the iron pillar of Delhi and the 
heavy iron beams of Indian temples were forged will probably 
always remain a mystery. Metallurgists of the present day 
are certainly unable to understand how these large masses of 
iron could have been forged by a people who do not appear 
to have possessed any of the mechanical appliances for their 
manufacture which are now necessary in the production of 
similar articles. They could not have been forged by hand. 

China is said by Day to have made steel long before the 
Christian era by the method revived in modern times of im- 
mersing wrought iron in a bath of cast iron, which modern 
method has been perfected in the open-hearth process. 

In the interesting account by Dr. Bell of a Journey from 
St. Petersburg to Pekin from 1719 to 1721, from which we have 
already quoted, we find an allusion to cast iron in China at 
that period which is worthy of preservation, as it seems to in- 
dicate that the Chinese did not borrow the art of casting iron 
from the Europeans. Dr. Bell says : " My landlord being in 
his shop I paid him a visit, where I found six kettles placed 
in a row on fujnaces, having a separate opening under each of 
them for receiving the fuel, which consisted of a few small 
sticks and straw. On his pulling a thong he blew a pair of 


bellows, which made all his kettles boil in a very short time. 
They are indeed very thin, and made of cast iron, being ex- 
tremely smooth both within and without." The same writer 
refers as follows to the cannon then in use in the Chinese 
wall: "While we stopped at one of the gates to refresh our- 
selves I took the opportunity to walk into one of .these towers, 
where I saw some hundreds of old iron cannon thrown to- 
gether as useless. On examination I found them to be com- 
posed of three or four pieces of hammered iron* joined, and 
fastened together with hoops of the same metal. The Chinese 
have, however, now learned to cast as fine brass cannon as 
are anywhere to be found." The old cannon were bombards. 
In the years 1881 to 1883 a French scientific commission, 
inquiring into the mineral resources of Indo-China, visited 
the important deposit of iron ore at Ph'nom Deck, in the 
province of Compong-Thom, in Cambodia. The manner in 
which this ore is converted into iron is very suggestive of 
the ancient methods which have been briefly described. 

The native Khouys manufacture a small quantity of extremely pure 
iron, for which there is a great demand ; it is exported to considerable dis- 
tances, and serves as money over an immense area. A mixture of the ores 
is used, the chief being a brown hematite, containing under 40 per cent, of 
metallic iron, .with over 2 per cent, of manganese, and associated with the 
surrounding tuff. The metallurgy is divided into two parts: first, the fab- 
rication of an iron-sponge ; and, second, the elaboration of the sponge and 
its transformation into small hammered bars. The sponge is made in a 
rectangular furnace, 8 feet by 3 feet, and 16 inches deep, which is con- 
structed on a mass of earth nearly 3 feet above the ground. The walls and 
base of the furnace consist of refractory earth, mixed with very fine white 
sand. The charge is about 4 cwts. of mineral, with about 15 bushels of 
charcoal, in thin alternate layers. 

The operation continues slowly for eight hours, the blast being dis- 
tributed from a great number of bamboo tuyeres, the bellows, of curious 
construction, being made of buifalo and deer-skins; afterwards for two to 
four hours the blast is much stronger. During the operation the slag is 
frequently removed. The resulting sponge is sold to the native forges to 
be made into bars, which is accomplished by a laborious and primitive 
process. The bars are far from being homogeneous, some parts being of 
a steely character alternating with portions of soft iron. The bars weigh 
about 1 pound, and sell through Cambodia and Siam at prices attaining 
the rate of 60 per ton. 

A recent traveler in Corea, C. Illing, describes as follows 
a Corean furnace and blowing apparatus of the present day, 


by means of which " good cast-iron household utensils are 
made" and " steel is produced on a small scale." 

The author was unfortunately unable to inspect a Corean ironworks in 
operation. An old abandoned furnace he found, on measuring, to be 8 feet 
high. At top it had an elliptical section 4J feet long and 2 feet wide, whilst 
at bottom the section was more circular and measured 15 inches across. The 
blowing engine was formed of a pit, 8 feet long and 15 inches wide, semi- 
circular at the bottom. Its walls and .floor were rendered air-tight by means 
of bricks and clay, carefully smoothed. In its centre perpendicular to its 
longitudinal axis there was a parting wall, and on this was the axis of ro- 
tation of a horizontal board fitting closely to the walls. This board was 
moved up and down like a see-saw by tw r o workmen with their feet, where- 
by the air was alternately compressed in the two air-tight quadrants of the 
pit, and a continuous current was produced, which passed through two valves 
opening outwards .into the pipe leading to the furnace. The iron ore was 
smelted with charcoal as fuel, and with lime as flux, and the white pig iron 
obtained was cast in clay moulds. Lumps of pig iron, 8 inches in diameter, 
were converted into malleable iron in small smithy fires, worked with a 
blast similar to that described, and from this iron knives, nails, scythes, etc-., 
were made in the same forge. 

In the official catalogue of the Japanese section of the 
Centennial Exhibition held at Philadelphia in 1876 the "old 
method " of smelting iron in Japan, which still exists side by 
side with modern methods, is described in detail as follows : 

The smelting of iron by the old method is effected in small furnaces 
of rectangular section, built on the principle of the stucko/en, 12 to 15 feet 
high. The building materials are fire-clay, and for the hearth a mixture of 
fire clay and charcoal powder. The blast is produced either by means of a 
pair of wooden box-bellows, moved by hand, or else by means of a sort of 
balance-bellows of peculiar construction. The magnetic ore is first calcined 
in large lumps and afterwards broken into smaller pieces with hand ham- 
mers, then smelted with or without flux. 

The furnaces for smelting the iron-sand are of a peculiar construction. 
The ground is dug out so as to form a pit 12 feet by 15, and 10 feet deep, 
and this is filled up to a depth of 9 feet with hard powdered charcoal ; then 
comes a layer of clay and sand, which is dried and hardened by covering 
it with charcoal fire. The ashes being taken away, the pit is filled up with 
charcoal-powder, and the surface coated with a fire-proof mixture. Upon 
this foundation the furnace is built, 9 feet by 4 feet at the basis, and 4 feet 
high. The interior resembles to a great extent the well-known Rachette 
furnace, forming a wedge-like hollow space, with a horizontal section of 6' 
in length, and having a line of tweers (5 with the above dimension) on 
each of the long sides. When the smelting begins the furnace is en- 
tirely filled up with charcoal, the box-bellows are put to work, and 12 hours 
later, as the whole mass sinks down, iron-sand and charcoal are filled in. 
The smelting lasts two days and three nights. Generally 3,750 kilos of iron- 


sand are smelted with an equal weight of charcoal, and yield 45 per cent, of 
\ng iron and 1 per cent, of steel in loops or blooms. When the above-named 
quantity has been smelted the liquid iron is run off, and as soon as the fur- 
nace is cool enough, the steel loops hanging against the walls are broken 
off. The whole process lasts about 8 days, viz., 2 days for building the fur- 
nace, 3 days for smelting, and 3 days for coating, for removing the steel, 
etc., and for cleaning the place in order to be able to build a new furnace. 

The " balance-bellows of peculiar construction " above re- 
ferred to are very similar to the Corean bellows already de- 
scribed. The following minute description of the Japanese 
balance-bellows, taken from the same official source that has 
already been mentioned, will possess value for mechanical en- 
gineers who may have been interested in the Corean bellows. 

Suppose a horizontal cylinder cut by two planes passing through the 
axis, and forming between them an angle of about 30 ; two opposite sectors 
will be cut out. A rectangular plane, equal to the axial section, and balanc- 
ing upon the axis of the primary cylinder, would fit the sides of the box in 
each position, and, when made to balance alternately from one side to the 
other, would act like the piston of a common box-bellows. According to 
this geometrical principle, the box of the bellows is composed of two cylin- 
drical sectors, and the balancing plane is made of wooden boards, resting by 
its middle line upon a beam, which forms the central edge of the two sectors 
(or the axis of the aforesaid imaginary cylinder). The compressed air from 
each side is discharged into a short channel cut at an incline of 45 degrees 
into this beam, in the centre of which they unite into a main outward pas- 
sage for the blast. At the place where these two oblique channels meet to 
form the main pipe, a flap-valve is placed, which, being put into motion by 
the compressed air, closes alternately, either of the two short channels when- 
ever the opposite half of the balance-piston moves down. Two flap-valves, 
fitted each to one side of the piston, allow the outer air to enter one or the 
other half of the bellows. The balancing motion of the piston is produced 
by treading, two or three men standing on each end of this blasting ma- 

Mr. David Forbes, F. R. S., wrote in the Journal of the 
British Iron and Steel Institute in 1872 : " From information 
derived from Sir John Swinburne it appears that the negro 
tribes in the interior of Africa, some 800 miles from Natal, are 
extremely expert in the manufacture of wrought iron, which 
they smelt in little clay furnaces from the native ores. They 
sell the iron thus made, which is said to be extremely good in 
quality, at so low a price that it is cheaper than that which is 
imported by the settlers at the gold mines, who consequently 
employ it for their implements." 

The primitive processes for manufacturing iron, or modi- 


fications of them, were adopted in Europe when that conti- 
nent commenced to make iron. The manufacture of iron in 
Belgium and England without the aid of an artificial blast, 
about the time of the Christian era, has already been referred 
to. It is not known whether other European countries ever 
made iron in the same way. At Lustin, in Belgium, between 
Namur and Dinant, two ancient furnaces or bloomaries were 
discovered in 1870 on the top of a hill, with iron yet remain- 
ing in them. They consisted of simple oval excavations with 
rounded bottoms in a bed of clay, each 12 feet long and 9 feet 
wide, with a depth in the middle of 3 feet, the top being level 
with the surface of the surrounding soil. A channel exca- 
vated in the clay, but covered over with stones, conducted the 
wind into the lower portion of each furnace. The opening 
of this channel was turned in the direction of the prevailing 
wind, so that iron could only have been made on windy days. 
These bloomaries contained lumps of crude wrought iron. 

The English antiquarian, Thomas Wright, in The Celt, the 
Roman, and the Saxon, quotes from Mr. Brace's account of the 
Roman wall a statement concerning the discovery not many 
years ago of the character of the blast used in " the furnaces 
of the extensive Roman iron works" in the neighborhood of 
Epiacum, (Lanchester,) in England. Mr. Bruce says: " Two 
tunnels had been formed in the side of a hill ; they were wide 
at one extremity, but tapered off to a narrow bore at the 
other, where they met in a point. The mouths of the chan- 
nels opened toward the west, from which quarter a prevalent 
wind blows in this valley, and sometimes with great violence. 
The blast received by them would, when the wind was high, 
be poured with considerable force and effect upon the smelt- 
ing furnaces at the extremity of the tunnels." In a foot-note 
Mr. Wright adds the following, which is curiously suggestive 
of the hot-blast : " We are told by the early Spanish writers 
that the Peruvians built their furnaces for smelting silver on 
eminences where the air was freest ; they were perforated on 
all sides with holes, through which the air was driven when 
the wind blew, which was the only time when the work could 
be carried on, and under each hole was made a projection of 
the stonework, on which was laid burning coals to heat the 
air before it entered the furnace." 


As no evidence exists that iron was ever made by the 
Romans in the south of Europe without the aid of an arti- 
ficial blast, it may be fairly assumed that the Belgian furna- 
ces above described and the methods of manufacture in Eng- 
land which are described by Mr. Bruce and others are of na- 
tive origin. The Romans may for a time have continued the 
native practice, especially as the manufacture of iron in both 
Belgium and Britain would be mainly confined to the na- 
tive inhabitants, but long before their withdrawal from these 
countries in the fifth century the superior practice of South- 
ern Europe would be generally introduced. 

In the south of Europe the bellows was certainly used to 
produce a blast long before the Roman invasion of Britain. 
Homer, quoted by Fairbairn, " represents Hephsestus as throw- 
ing the materials from which the shield of Achilles was to be 
forged into a furnace urged by twenty pairs of bellows." The 
bellows first used by the Greeks were probably made of goat 
skins, but subsequently, as early probably as the time of Ho- 
mer, and certainly as early as the third century before Christ, 
larger and more powerful bellows were made of the hides of 
cattle, and larger furnaces or bloomaries were erected. These 
larger bellows were the same in principle as the common 
blacksmith's bellows of our day, and they would be used by 
the Greeks and Romans in smelting the ore as well as in re- 
fining and shaping the iron. Of their furnaces and forges we 
know but little. Virgil, who lived in the first century before 
Christ, gives us in the Fourth Georgic a view of a refinery 
forge as it doubtless existed among the Romans in his day. 

As when the Cyclops, at th' almighty nod, 

New thunder hasten for their angry god, 

Subdued in fire the stubborn metal lies: 

One brawny smith the puffing bellows plies, 

And draws and blows reciprocating air: 

Others to quench the hissing mass prepare: 

With lifted arms they order every blow, 

And chime their sounding hammers in a row: 

With labored anvils Etna groans below. 

Strongly they strike ; huge flakes of flames expire : 

With tongs they turn the steel and vex it in the fire. 

Diodorus of Sicily, quoted by Scrivenor, mentions the iron 
ores of Elba/' which the natives dig and cut out of the ground 


to melt, in order for the making of iron, much of which metal 
is in this sort of stone. The workmen employed first cut the 
stone in pieces, and then melt them in furnaces built and pre- 
pared for the purpose. In these furnaces the stones, by the 
violent heat of the fire, are melted into several pieces in form 
like great sponges, which the merchants buy by truck and 
exchange of other. wares, and export them to Dicsearchea and 
other mart towns. Some of these merchants that buy of these 
wares cause them to be wrought by the coppersmiths, who 
beat and fashion them into all sorts of tools, instruments, 
and other shapes and fancies ; some they, neatly beat into the 
shape of birds, others into spades, hooks, and other sorts of 
utensils, all which are transported and carried about into sev- 
eral parts of the world by the merchants." This account was 
written in the first century before the Christian era. 

Pliny describes the various kinds of iron and steel which 
were in use in his day, the first century after Christ, but gives 
us little insight into the methods by which they were pro- 
duced. In the following vague description he seems to have 
intended to show that both iron and steel were made in the 
same furnace. He says : " There is a great difference, too, in 
the smelting ; some kinds producing knurrs of metal, which 
are especially adapted for hardening into steel, or else, pre- 
pared in another manner, for making thick anvils or heads 
of hammers. But the main difference results from the qual- 
ity of the water into which the red-hot metal is plunged from 
time to time. The water, which is in some places better for 
this purpose than in others, has quite ennobled some locali- 
ties for the excellence of their iron, Bilbilis, for example, and 
Turiasso, in Spain, and Comum, in Italy, and this although 
there are no iron mines in these spots. It is a remarkable 
fact that when the ore is fused the metal becomes liquefied 
like water, and afterwards acquires a spongy, brittle texture. 
It is the practice to quench the smaller articles made of iron 
with oil, lest by being hardened in water they should be ren- 
dered brittle. Iron which has been acted upon by fire is 
spoiled unless it is forged with the hammer. It is not in a 
fit state for being hammered when it is red hot, nor, indeed, 
until it has begun to assume a white heat." The foregoing is 
a condensation of Pliny's full text, to be found in Scrivenor. 


The reference in Diodorus to iron made in the form of 
" great sponges," and later in Pliny to iron of "a spongy, 
brittle texture," suggests the Catalan, or the direct, process 
of manufacture. In describing the Biscayan ferrerias, which 
were nothing but Catalan forges, M. Pourcel, from whom we 
have already quoted, says : "It is quite evident that iron 
obtained in the form of spongy masses from an ore almost 
chemically pure, with a fuel free from sulphur, is, by its mo- 
lecular constitution as much as by its chemical composition, 
an essentially malleable metal, and capable of being kneaded, 
if the expression may be used, when hot." 

In Spain, as we have seen, iron and steel were made 
many centuries before Pliny's time, the Catalan forge, or a 
modification of it, being used, and the product being either 
wrought iron or steel. The Catalan forge differed in no es- 
sential particular from the ordinary fire of a blacksmith, ex- 
cept that it had a sunken hearth, or crucible. The Corsicaii 
forge, which also existed before the Christian era, was a modi- 
fication of the Catalan forge. The blast for these forges is 
presumed to have been primarily furnished by bellows made 
of goat skins or the skins of other small animals, but lar- 
ger Grecian and Roman bellows were afterwards substituted. 
Bauerman, in his Treatise on the Metallurgy of Iron, cites Fran- 
quoy as authority for the statement that bellows with valves, 
" single acting and made of leather," were introduced by the 
Romans into Gaul in the fourth century of the Christian era. 

Percy copies the following description of an old Catalan 
forge in Spain : "In 1823, at Bielsa, in Aragon, in the Span- 
ish Pyrenees, some charcoal burners discovered in a forest of 
silver firs a small circular iron furnace only 2 feet and 1.59 
inches high. The lower part or hearth was cylindrical up to 
the height of about 11.81 inches and then terminated in an 
inverted truncated cone ; its diameter was 14.25 inches at the 
lower and 1.69 inches at the upper part; it had two tuyere 
beds at 11.81 inches from the bottom. Near the furnace were 
found two crude lumps of iron in the state in which they 
appeared to have been taken out, and which weighed from 
30.9 pounds to 35.3 pounds. According to tradition the blast 
in these furnaces was produced with bellows of skin worked 
by hand. Accumulations of ancient slags are met with at 


high elevations in the Pyrenees, far from any water-course, 
and which doubtless were urged by a blast produced by 
manual labor." Scrivenor mentions portable forges in ancient 
France, and we have already referred to the movable forges 
of the Forest of Dean. These references suggest the portable 
blacksmith's forge of the present day. 

M. Pourcel makes the following reference to the direct 
process in use in Biscay: "The ore was treated in hearths, 
sometimes hollowed out alongside of the mine itself, but more 
frequently established in the middle of the forests which sup- 
plied the charcoal and on the banks of streams. The traces 
of the old ferrerias, which are still met with in considerable 
numbers, situated in the mountains, near the mines, from 
which the timber has disappeared, on the banks of small tor- 
rents, and amongst heaps of slag, remain the witnesses of the 
old iron industry of Biscay. The work was carried on almost 
entirely by manual labor, and without doubt pretty nearly in 
the same fashion as among the Kabyles of the present day." 

Much light is thrown upon the methods of manufacturing 
iron which prevailed in the south of Europe at the beginning 
of the Christian era by the discovery in 1870 of two ancient 
bloomaries or melting hearths in the vicinity of Hiittenberg, 
in Carinthia, on the Hiittenberg Railway. The place where 
these hearths were found is embraced within the limits of 
the ancient province of Noricum. Maw and Dredge describe 
the hearths as follows : 

In the year 1870 a most interesting discovery was made during the 
construction of the Hiittenberg Railway. In a cutting a set of iron melt- 
ing-hearths of Roman and Celtic times was found 6 feet below the present 
surface of the ground. These hearths consist of two holes or ditches, the 
upper one being supposed to have served as a calcining kiln, whilst the 
lower one represents the smelting furnace proper. These hearths were 
found near the mines of spathic ore in the neighborhood of Huttenberg. 

The calcining hearth is fitted with a layer of charcoal 1J inches thick, 
upon which a 10-inch layer of clay forms the inside lining of the hearth. 
This lining was found burnt by the action of the calcining fire to a depth 
of 4 inches. The depth of the hearth is 2 feet, and its diameter 5 feet. 
The second or smelting hearth is placed at a distance of 16 feet from the 
former, and is 3 feet deep and 4 feet wide. The lining consists of a layer 
of 6-inch clay, upon which a fire-brick mass, consisting of clay and quartz, 
is uniformly spread to a thickness of 12 inches. This lining is burnt and 
glazed to a depth of 3 inches at the inner side, thus recording the higher 
temperature in this hearth during the smelting operation. 


Both hearths are filled with debris of burnt clay and slag crumbled 
down from the walls of the hearths, which seem to have been raised one 
foot above the surface of the ground. The space between the two hearths 
is paved with stones. The slag contains many unburnt pieces of charcoal. 
The analysis of the slag has proved that the yield of the spathic ore in use, 
containing .from 50 to 60 per cent, of iron, was only 15 to 20 per cent. The 
blast seems to have been furnished by bellows from the top of the furna- 
ces. A Roman cornice has been found near the smelting hearth. 

These discoveries point out a very primitive process as compared with 
our present means of iron smelting ; but centuries vanished before any real 
improvements were introduced. Nevertheless we find that the preparatory 
calcination of the ore previous to its being introduced in the smelting fur- 
nace is a very ancient mode of economizing labor and fuel. 

An analysis of the piece of iron found under the Egyptian 
obelisk which was removed in 1880 to New York shows that 
it must have been made by the direct process, and probably 
in a Catalan forge. The analysis, which was made for Mr. A. 
L. Holley by Dr. August Wendel, of Troy, is here preserved. 

Iron 98.738 ! Copper 0.102 

Carbon 0.521 I Calcium 0.218 

Sulphur 0.009 j Magnesium 0.028 

Silicon 0.017 | Aluminum 0.070 

Phosphorus 0.048 I Slag 0.150 

Manganese 0.116 

Nickel and cobalt 0.079 I Total 100.096 

Mr. Holley says that a clean fracture of the iron was sim- 
ilar to that of puddled steel, and mentions the further fact 
that the small amount of slag, as well as the fine fracture, 
indicates frequent reworking. 

It is not definitely known whether any of the nations of 
remote antiquity were familiar with the use of coal, but there 
is some evidence to show that it was known in the days of 
the Greeks and Romans. Rev. Joseph Hurst, of Wadhurst, 
England, in an address read at the meeting of the Royal 
Archaeological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland at New- 
castle, in August, 1884, says : " That the ancient Greeks were 
acquainted with stone coal is evident from the words of The- 
ophrastus, an author who lived three hundred years before 
Christ (de Lapidibus, N. 16) : ' The coal commonly so-called, 
which is dug out of the earth for man's use, is of an earthy 
(or stoney) nature ; it is kindled and burnt like coal (charcoal) . 
Of this (stone) coal workers in iron make use.' Solinus has 


also been quoted for the use of stone-coal amongst the Greeks, 
and if the red-hot stones which, according to Pliny, were used 
by the Gauls for smelting copper were nothing more than 
stone-coal their efficacy would perhaps be rendered more in- 
telligible to modern men of science." The quotation from 
Theophrastus does not inform us in what country coal was 
found in his day. 

The compiler of the paper on iron in Johnson's Cyclopaedia 
says of the Chalibees, who inhabited a part of the country 
south of the Black sea, that they " first used coal." He forti- 
fies this statement in the following words : " Their iron was 
made, according to Aristotle, (322 B. c.,) from sand ore dug 
from river banks, washed, and put into the furnace along with 
the stone pyrimachus, (fire-maker,) that is, coal." There is coal 
on the southern shores of the Black sea, between the ports 
of Heraclea and Bardin, which is now mined in considerable 
quantities, but it is not probable that, if the above inference 
from the statement of Aristotle be correct, the Chalibees ob- 
tained their supply from this source. Nor would they have 
been likely to smelt magnetic sand with bituminous coal. 

The use of bituminous coal, or pit-coal, by the Romans 
during their occupation of Britain, which terminated in the 
year 411, is claimed, but this use must have been very lim- 
ited. Mr. Meade notes the use of coal in England in Anglo- 
Saxon times. He says : " As early as the year 852 there is a 
record of the abbey of Peterboro' receiving twelve cart-loads 
of fossil or pit coal." Mr. Macadam says that "coal was 
early known in Scotland," and he refers to a charter granted 
in 1291 to the abbot and convent of Dunfermline, giving them 
the privilege of digging coal. In the thirteenth century coal 
was sent to London from Newcastle by sea ; hence the name 
which is still in use, sea-coal. The Sorbs and Wends, na- 
tive inhabitants of the district of Zwickau, in Saxony, are 
said by Herr Pechar to have been familiar with the use of 
coal probably as early as the tenth century. Dr. Wedding 
states that "an insignificant consumption of coal in Germa- 
ny for domestic purposes and brick and glass works can be 
traced with certainty as far back as the beginning of the four- 
teenth century." The beginning of coal mining in Belgium 
is said by Pechar to date as far back as the twelfth century. 


With the exception of the Indian and Chinese methods of 
making steel the ancient processes which have been referred 
to were all direct processes, the iron or steel being obtained 
directly from the ore. The furnaces, whether large or small, 
were all bloomaries, because the product derived from the 
heated ore was obtained in the form of a lump or bloom of 
malleable iron or steel. If cast iron was sometimes obtained 
by the Mediterranean nations, or by Asiatic and African 
ironworkers, little evidence exists that it was run into moulds 
for the production of useful or ornamental castings. The 
weakness of the blast furnished by goat skins, bamboo, or the 
early leather bellows renders it highly improbable that cast 
iron was obtained by any of the more ancient . processes. As 
we approach the Christian era the evidence of its existence 

Aristotle, who lived in the fourth century before Christ, 
has left an account of the manner in which the Greeks of 
his day converted wrought iron into steel, which furnishes 
some evidence that they were also familiar with cast iron. 
He is quoted by Day as follows : " Wrought iron itself may 
be cast so as to be made liquid and to harden again ; and 
thus it is they are wont to make steel ; for the scoria of iron 
subsides and is purged off by the bottom ; and when it is 
often defecated and made clean this is steel. But this they 
do not often because of the great waste and because it loses 
much weight in refining ; but iron is so much the more excel- 
lent the less recrement it has." The quotatiori from Pliny on 
a preceding page contains the most direct evidence we have 
of the making of cast iron by the Romans. It has been sug- 
gested that the battering-ram could only have been made of 
cast iron, but if so made could it have withstood the severe 
shocks to which it was subjected ? 

But, if the Mediterranean nations, and particularly the 
Greeks and Romans, knew how to make and utilize cast iron, 
this knowledge virtually became one of the lost arts, for there 
is no authentic 'mention of cast iron having been made in the 
northern and western parts of Europe until about six centu- 
ries ago, and if the Chinese, the Japanese, and the people of 
India ever possessed the art they kept it to themselves and 
made but little use of it. 




FROM the first to the eighth century of the Christian 
era the history of the manufacture of iron in all European 
countries is greatly obscured, and the processes which were 
in operation can not be described. In Asia and Africa the 
art had previously received less and less attention through the 
gradual transfer of political power and of civilization to the 
northern shores of the Mediterranean. But Greece, which 
had acquired much of this power and had absorbed most 
of this civilization, had in turn surrendered her leadership to 
Rome, and in the fifth century after Christ Rome herself fell 
before the northern barbarians. Except in Spain, where the 
Visigoths established a powerful empire in the fifth century, 
under which the arts of ancient civilization were encouraged, 
the iron industry is nowhere throughout Europe known to 
have flourished from the time when Rome commenced her 
final struggle with the northern invaders down to about the 
beginning of the eighth century. At this time we begin to 
hear of the iron industry taking a fresh start in many Euro- 
pean countries, experiencing what in modern phrase we term 
a revival. And with this revival we hear authentically for 
the first time of the wolf furnace, or stuckofen, in Austria, 
Bohemia, Germany, Belgium, and other Continental countries. 
In an address delivered at Liege, Belgium, in 1883, M. Ed. de 
Laveleye, of that city, said that, " in the eighth century, un- 
der Charlemagne, appeared the furnace called the fourneau a 
masse, or stuckofen, which was higher than the old furnaces, 
and thus allowed a greater concentration of heat." 

The wolf furnace, or stuckofen, was a high bloomary, and 
was simply an enlargement of the primitive low bloom a- 
ries or forges. Percy says that the stuckofen " is only a Cata- 
lan furnace extended upwards in the form of a quadrangular 
or circular shaft. The Germans call it stuck or wolfs ofen 
because the large metallic mass which is extracted from the 


bottom is termed stuck or ivolf." The word bloom fully ex- 
presses the English equivalent of both words. The word loup, 
or loop, which is applied to a lump of imperfectly worked 
iron, is identical with the terms stuck and wolf, being derived 
from the French word loup, signifying wolf. Overman says 
that wolf furnaces, or bloomaries, of which there yet remain a 
few in Hungary and Spain, are generally from 10 to 16 feet 
high, 2 feet wide at the top and bottom, and about 5 feet wide 
at the widest part. The early wolf furnaces were not more 
than 10 feet high. An opening in the front, about 2 feet 
square, called the breast, was kept open until the furnace was 
heated, when, coincidently with the closing of the breast with 
brick, the ore and charcoal were thrown into the furnace and 
the blast was applied from " at least two bellows and nozzles, 
both on the same side." The product was a mass, or sala- 
mander, of mixed iron and steel, which was taken out of the 
breast and reduced under the tilt-hammer to blooms, and un- 
der smaller hammers to bars and other forms. The salaman- 
der, which usually weighed from 400 to 700 pounds, was first 
cut into two nearly equal parts, which were called stucke. At 
Eisenerz, in Austria, as stated by Jars, quoted by Percy, " the 
lump was first cut half through in the centre with hatchets 
by two men, each having one. It was afterwards completely 
divided by means of wedges and large hammers." The an- 
nual production of a wolf furnace was from 100 to 150 tons. 
Overman further says : " By this method good iron as well as 
steel is always furnished ; in fact the salamander consists of 
a mixture of iron and steel ; of the latter skillful workmen 
may save a considerable amount. The blooms are a mixture 
of fibrous iron, steel, and cast iron. The latter flows into the 
bottom of the forge fire, in which the blooms are reheated, 
and is then converted into bar iron by the same method 
adopted to convert common pig iron. If the steel is not 
sufficiently separated it is worked along with the iron." At 
Soiling, in Carinthia, a wolf furnace was built in 1775 which 
was provided with two common bellows worked by water- 
wheels, each bellows being 8 feet long and 3f feet broad. 

While there can be no doubt that the earliest wolf fur- 
naces were blown with leather bellows it is not known when 
water-power was first used in producing the blast and in oper- 


ating the hammers. Water-power for grinding grain is said 
by Knight, in his Mechanical Dictionary, to have been used 
about the beginning of the Christian era. In Agricola's De 
Re Metattica, printed at Basle in 1556, are numerous engrav- 
ings which show that large tilt-hammers and leather bellows, 
operated by water-power, were used in the manufacture of iron 
and steel in Saxony at that time. In Flower's History of the 
Trade in Tin will be found two very interesting illustrations 
of the manner in which the bellows and tilt-hammer were 
operated by water-power in France in 1714. Prior to the in- 
troduction of water-power bellows were doubtless wholly op- 
erated by the feet or hands. 

The osmund furnace, which is said by Percy to have been 
intermediate between the Catalan forge and the stuckofen, but 
which had a much wider mouth than the stuckofen, was for- 
merly in use in Northern Europe, principally for smelting 
bog or lake ore, and was lately in use in Finland. It is said 
by Karsten, in his Grundriss der Metallurgie, printed at Bres- 
lau in 1818, to have been in use in Norway and Sweden at 
that date, but its use in these countries has now been 'aban- 
doned. It derived its name from the Swedish word osmund, 
" which was applied to the bloom produced in this kind of 
furnace." Percy reproduces from Swedish sources two draw- 
ings of an osmund furnace, from which it would appear that 
it was about 7 feet high, rectangular in shape, with an open- 
ing or breast near the bottom similar to that of the stuckofen, 
and was blown through one tuyere with two ordinary black- 
smith's bellows, worked with treadles by a woman's feet. The 
ore used in Sweden was first calcined before being placed in 
the furnace, wood being used for calcining and charcoal for 
smelting. The product was good malleable iron, which was 
taken out of the breast in a lump, or osmund. Not more than 
li tons of iron could be produced in this furnace in a week. 

Percy says: "The transition from the old bloomary to 
the modern blast furnace was very gradual, and the stuckofen 
is the final development of the furnaces in which iron in 
the malleable state was produced direct from the ore. By in- 
creasing the dimensions of the stuckofen, especially its height, 
the conditions favorable to the formation of cast iron are ob- 
tained ; and, indeed, in the stuckofen cast iron was generally, 


if not always, produced in greater or less degree, to the annoy- 
ance of the smelter." 

Percy further says that the stuckofen was gradually super- 
seded by the blast furnace, the first furnace which replaced 
the stuckofen being the blauofen, or blue oven. He says that 
" originally there was no essential difference between them, 
these names being applied according to the nature of the 
metal which they yielded, and not in consequence of dif- 
ference of construction," malleable iron being obtained with 
much less charcoal than was used when cast iron was desired. 
" When the blauofen was used as a stuckofen it was only neces- 
sary to make an opening in the fore part of the hearth large 
enough for the extraction of the lump. One essential condi- 
tion in working the furnace as a stuckofen was to allow the 
slag free escape during the process, so that the lump of iron 
accumulating in the hearth might never be covered with 
slag, and so be protected from the action of the blast." The 
blauofen, which is not entirely extinct on the Continent, dates 
from about the beginning of the fourteenth century. The 
flussofen was substantially the same furnace as the blauofen. 
Blast furnace may properly be substituted for either term, al- 
though the phrase blast furnace means, strictly speaking, the 
fully developed blauofen or flussofen. Hochofen was another 
German name which was applied to the blast furnace, and it 
is still retained. Karsten says that in 1818 the stuckofen was 
no longer used in Germany, except at Schmalkalden, which 
is a town in Prussia. He says, however, that many stilckofen 
were then in use in Hungary. 

It has been stated in a preceding chapter that the blast 
furnace originated in the Rhine provinces about the begin- 
ning of the fourteenth century. We are unable to trace its 
existence to an earlier date than 1340, when the furnace at 
Marche les Dames in Belgium was built. It was many years, 
however, before the blast furnace was generally introduced 
on the Continent or in England. It was probably not intro- 
duced into Saxony until 1550. Agricola, who was a native 
of Saxony, does not describe it in his valuable work, which 
was first printed in 1530, but he describes the stuckofen and 
the forges for refining iron and producing steel. Percy says 
that Agricola " appears to have been acquainted with cast 


iron," but this, as has already been shown, could have been 
produced by the stuckofen. 

The Continental nations of Europe are entitled to the 
credit of having fully developed the blast furnace from the 
primitive method of producing iron in the bloomary or Cat- 
alan forge. The virtual perfection of the blast furnace by 
the Germans, the Belgians, and the French in the fifteenth 
and sixteenth centuries marked a great advance in the art of 
manufacturing iron, and greatly enlarged the uses to which 
iron could be applied. The nations which have been men- 
tioned were also the first among modern nations to cast iron 
in moulds, the Germans and French being especially noted at 
an early day for the artistic excellence of their iron castings. 

The Catalan forge, with its modifications, continued to be 
used during the period covered by the development of the 
blast furnace, and, as has already been said, it is still in use 
in many countries, being especially adapted to the conver- 
sion of pure ores into malleable iron of superior quality. A 
modification of the Catalan forge, called the German bloom- 
ary, consisting more, however, in the treatment of the ore 
than in the construction of the hearth and its connections, 
was long very popular in Germany and the United States, 
but it has now been almost entirely abandoned in both these 
countries. After the commencement of the manufacture of 
cast or pig iron forges suited to the conversion of this prod- 
uct into wrought iron became necessary, but they did not 
differ in any essential details of construction or application 
from the Catalan forge and the refinery forges which had pre- 
viously been found necessary in connection with the stuckofen. 
Refinery forges have sometimes been called bloomaries, be- 
cause pig iron is by them first reduced to a bloom before it is 
still further refined; but properly speaking a bloomary is a 
forge that converts iron ore into wrought iron by the direct 
process. The word bloomary is of Anglo-Saxon origin, the 
Anglo-Saxon word bloma, from which it is derived, meaning 
a mass, or lump. In Doomsday-Book the expression, bloma 
ferri, occurs several times. 

In The Forest of Dean Nicholls quotes a most interesting- 
description of the blast furnaces and refinery forges of Eng- 
land in the latter part of the seventeenth century. It has 


already been mentioned that the blast furnace was introduced 
into England from the Continent about the beginning of the 
fifteenth century. The author, after recording events which 
occurred on April 27, 1680, a little more than two hundred 
years ago, says : " The mode then in use of operating upon 
the iron ore as described in manuscript by Dr. Parsons will 
be found in Appendix No. 5." This description is as follows : 

After they have provided their ore their first work is to calcine it, 
which is done in kilns, much after the fashion of our ordinary lime kilns ; 
these they fill up to the top with coal and ore until it be full, and so, put- 
ting fire to the bottom, they let it burn till the coal be wasted, and then 
renew the kilns with fresh ore and coal. This is done without any infu- 
sion of mettal, and serves to consume the more drossy part of the ore, and 
to make it fryable, supplying the beating and washing, which are to no 
other mettals ; from hence they carry it to their furnaces, which are built 
of brick and stone, about 24 foot square on the outside, and near 30 foot in 
height within, and not over 8 or 10 foot over where it is the widest, which 
is about the middle, the top and bottom having a narrow compass, much 
like the form of an egg. Behind the furnace are placed two high pair of 
bellows, whose noses meet at a little hole near the bottom ; these are com- 
pressed together by certain buttons placed on the axis of a very large 
wheel, which is turned round by water, in the manner of an overshot mill. 
As soon as these buttons are slid off, the bellows are raised again by a 
counterpoise of weights, whereby they are made to play alternately, the 
one giving its blast while "the other is rising. 

At first they fill these furnaces with ore and cinder intermixt with 
fuel, which in these works is always charcoal, laying them hollow, at the 
bottom, that they may the more easily take fire ; but after they are once 
kindled the materials run together into an hard cake or lump, which is 
sustained by the furnace, and through this the mettal as it runs trickles 
down the receivers, which are placed at the bottom, where there is a pas- 
sage open, by which they take away the scum and dross, and let out their 
mettal as they see occasion. Before the mouth of the furnace lyeth a great 
bed of sand, where they make furrows of the fashion they desire to cast 
their iron. Into these, when the receivers are full, they let in their mettal, 
which is made so very fluid by the violence of the fire that it not only runs 
to a considerable distance, but stands afterwards boiling a great while. 
After these furnaces are once at work they keep them constantly employed 
for many months together, never Buffering the fire to slacken night or day, 
but still supplying the waste of fuel and other materials with fresh, poured 
in at the top. 

Several attempts have been made to bring in the use of the sea coal in 
these workes instead of charcoal; the former being to be had at an easy 
rate, the latter not without a great expence, but hitherto they have proved 
ineffectual, the workmen finding by experience that a sea-coal fire, how 
vehement soever, will not penetrate the most fixed parts of the ore, by 
which means they leave much of the mettal behind them unmelted. 

From these furnaces they bring the sows and piggs of iron, as they call 


them, to their forges ; these are two sorts, though they stood together under 
the same roof; one they call their finery, and the other chafers ; both of 
them are upon hearths, upon which they place great heaps of sea coal, and 
behind them bellows like those of the furnaces, but nothing near so large. 
In such finerys they first put their piggs of iron, placing three or four of 
them together behind the fire, with a little of one end thrust into it, 
where softening by degrees they stir and work them with long barrs of 
iron till the mettal runs together in a round masse or lump, which they 
call an half bloome : this they take out, and, giving it a few strokes with 
their sledges, they carry it to a great weighty hammer, raised likewise by 
the motion of a water-wheel, where, applying it dexterously to the blows, 
they presently beat it into a thick short square ; this they put into the 
finery again, and, heating it red hot, they work it under the same hammer 
till it comes to the shape of a bar in the middle, with two square knobs in 
the ends ; last of all they give it other heatings in the chaffers, [chafery.j 
and more workings under the hammer, till they have brought their iron 
into barrs of several shapes, in which fashion they expose them to sale. 

All their principal iron undergoes the aforementioned preparations, 
yet for several other purposes, as for backs of chimneys, hearths of ovens, 
and the like, they have a sort of cast iron, which they take out of the 
receivers of the furnace, so soon as it is melted, in great ladles, and pour it 
into the moulds of fine sand in like manner as they do cast brass and 
softer mettals ; but this sort of iron is so very brittle that, being heated, 
with one blow of the hammer it breaks all to pieces. 

John Ray, the naturalist, writing a Jittle earlier, in 1672, 
has also fully described, in two papers appended to his Col- 
lection of English Words' the blast furnaces and forges which 
existed in England in his day. " This account of the whole 
process of the iron work," he says, " I had from one of the 
chief ironmasters of Sussex, my honored friend, Walter Bur- 
rell, Esq., of Cuckfield, deceased." We give below a literal 
copy of this description. 


The iron mine lies sonfetimes deeper, sometimes shallower, in the 
earth, from four to forty [feet] and upward. There are several sorts of 
mine, some hard, some gentle, some rich, some coarser. The ironmasters 
always mix different sorts of mine together, otherwise they will not melt 
to advantage. When the mine is brought in they take small-coal [char- 
coal] and lay a row of it, and upon that a row of mine, and so alternately 
S.S.S., one above another, and, setting the coals on fire, therewith burn the 
mine. The use of this burning is to modify it, that so it may be broke in 
small pieces ; otherwise if it should be put into the furnace as it comes out 
of the earth it would not melt, but come away whole. Care also must be 
taken that it be not too much burned, for then it will loop, i. e., melt and 
run together in a mass. After it is burnt they beat it into small pieces 
with an iron sledge, and then put it into the furnace, (which is before 


charged with coals,) casting it upon the top of the coals, where it melts 
and falls into the hearth, in the space of about twelve hours, more or less, 
and then it runs into a son'. 

The hearth, or bottom of the furnace, is made of sandstone, and the 
sides round, to the height of a yard, or thereabout ; the rest of the furnace 
is lined up to the top with brick. When they begin upon a new furnace 
they put fire for a day or two before they begin to blow. Then they blow 
gently and encrease by degrees 'till they come to the height in ten weeks 
or more. Every six days they call a founday, in which space they make 
eight tun of iron, if you divide the whole sum of iron made by the foun- 
days : for at first they make less in a founday, at last more. The hearth 
by the force of the fire, continually blown, grows wider and wider, so that 
at first it contains so much as will make a sow of six or seven hundred 
pound weight ; at last it will contain so much as will make a sow of two 
thousand pound'. The lesser pieces, of one thousand pound, or under, they 
call pigs. 

Of twenty-four loads of coals they expect eight tun of sows : to every 
load of coals, which consists of eleven quarters, they put a load of mine, 
which contains eighteen bushels. A hearth ordinarily, if made of good 
stone, will last forty foundays, that is, forty weeks, during which time the 
fire is never let go out. They never blow twice upon one hearth, though 
they go upon it not above five or six foundays. The cinder, like scum, 
swims upon the melted metal in the hearth, and is let out once or twice 
before a sow is cast. 


In every forge or hammer there are two fires at least ; the one they call 
the finery, the other the chafery. At the finery, by the working of the 
hammer, they bring it into blooms and anconies, thus : 

The sow they, at first, roll into the fire, and melt off a piece of about 
three-fourths of a hundred-weight, which, so soon as it is broken off, is 
called a loop. This loop they take out with their shingling-tongs, and beat 
it with iron sledges upon an iron plate near the fire, that so it may not fall 
in pieces, but be in a capacity to be carried under the hammer. Under 
which they, then removing it, and drawing a little water, beat it \jfith the 
hammer very gently, which forces cinder and dross out of the matter ; after- 
wards, by degrees, drawing more water, they beat it thicker and stronger 
'till they bring it to a bloom, which is a four-square mass of about two feet 
long. This operation they call shingling the 'loop. This done, they imme- 
diately return it to the finery again, and, after two or three heats and work- 
ings, they bring it to an ancony, the figure whereof is, in the middle, a bar 
about three feet long, of that shape they intend the whole bar to be made 
of it ; at both ends a square piece left rough to be wrought at the chafery. 

Note. At the finery three load of the biggest coals go to make one tun 
of iron. At the chafery they only draw out the two ends suitable to what 
was drawn out at the finery in the middle, and so finish the bar. 

Note I. One load of the smaller coals will draw out one tun of iron at 
the chafery. 2. They expect that one man and a boy at the finery should 
make two tuns of iron in a week : two men at the chafery should take 
up, i ?., make or work, five or six tun in a week. 3. If into the hearth 


where they work the iron sows (whether in the chafery or the finery) you 
cast upon the iron a piece of brass it will hinder the metal from working, 
causing it to spatter about, so that it can not be brought into a solid piece. 

John Hough ton, in his Husbandry and Trade Improved, 
printed in 1697, calls the square first made a half bloom and 
the bar with the two knobs a bloom, the greater end being 
called the mocket head and the smaller the ancony end. At 
the third heat, there being five heats in all, the ancony end 
was reduced to a bar, and at the fourth and fifth heats the 
mocket head was also reduced. 

The English blast furnaces and refinery forges which have 
been described were counterparts of Continental furnaces and 
forges of the same period. On the Continent, as well as in 
England, as described by Dr. Parsons, various castings were 
made direct from the furnace, which for this reason was often 
called a foundry. These castings, in addition to the articles 
mentioned by Dr. Parsons, embraced such domestic utensils 
as pots, kettles, skillets, gridirons, sad irons, andirons, clock 
weights, cog-wheels for mill machinery, grates, stoves, etc. 

After coke came into general use in the blast furnaces of 
Great Britain the method of refining iron which is above de- 
scribed was somewhat changed in that country in details but 
not in principle. On the Continent, however, where charcoal 
continued to be the only fuel used, there was no change in 
the method of refining iron until the puddling furnace was 
introduced, after the beginning of the present century, in 
company with the rolling mill for rolling bar iron. The pud- 
dling furnace was introduced into Sweden, at Skebo, and into 
France, at Fourchambault, about 1820 ; into Belgium, at Gri- 
vegnee, by Michael Orban, in 1821 ; into Moravia, at Witko- 
witz, in 1829 ; into RhenisA Prussia about 1830 ; into West- 
phalia and Upper Silesia about 1835 ; and into Siegen and 
the Hartz mountains about 1840. 

The erection of the first coke blast furnace on the Conti- 
nent of Europe was commenced in 1823 at Seraing, in Bel- 
gium, by John Cockerill, an Englishman by birth but a Bel- 
gian citizen, and completed in 1826, when it was successfully 
blown in. Other coke furnaces in Belgium and elsewhere on 
the Continent soon followed. M. Ed. de Laveleye, of Liege, 
says that in 1769 an attempt to smelt iron ores by means of 


coke was made at Juslenville, near Spa, in Belgium, but with- 
out success. One of the coke furnaces of the Hoerde iron 
works in Germany is said to have been continuously in blast 
from July 3, 1855, to May 29, 1874, or almost nineteen years. 

Wooden bellows, or tubs, as a substitute for leather bel- 
lows in connection with blast furnaces and forges, do not ap- 
pear to have been used in England in the seventeenth centu- 
ry, although said to have been invented by Hans Lobsinger, 
of Nuremberg, in Germany, about 1550. They were certainly 
used in Germany eighty years later, in 1630, and in various 
parts of Great Britain in the eighteenth century. In 1750 
leather bellows were used to blow the charcoal furnaces in 
Monmouthshire. As late as 1809 leather bellows 22 feet long 
and having oak planks two inches thick were still used in 
blowing some Scotch furnaces. Both leather and wooden bel- 
lows have been used in blowing the furnaces and forges of 
the United States, and the use of wooden bellows had not 
been wholly abandoned in this country as late as 1884. 

The trompe, or water-blast, is said to have been invented 
in Italy. Its use has been mainly confined to some of the 
charcoal furnaces and Catalan forges of Germany, France, 
Spain, and Italy. We can not learn that it was ever used 
in any part of Great Britain. Although it is now generally 
abandoned it may yet be found supplying the blast for a 
few forges on the Continent, and as late as 1890 it had not 
entirely disappeared in the southern part of the United 
States. Professor Lesley described in 1858, in the Iron Manu- 
facturers Guide, the water-blast which was then in use in the 
Southern States in connection with Catalan forges. He said : 

The use of the water-blast is all but universal. It consists of a box, 
say 5 by 2 by 1 feet deep, nearly immersed in the stream, directly under- 
neath the forebay or flume. The water rushes down into its upper end 
from the forebay through a wooden pipe, say 8 inches square, separated in 
two by a space of an inch or two, as if the two joints of a stove-pipe had 
parted that much. Into this slit air is sucked by the falling water and 
driven out through another 3-inch tube at the lower end. Inside the box, 
and parallel with its lid, a plank called the "spatter-board" is set a few 
inches below the first tube. The water escapes from a hole under the 
water-level at the lower end of the box. This apparatus gives a cold, damp 
blast, with a great waste of water, but one that is very uniform. 

The origin of the rolling mill for rolling iron into bars 


or plates is not free from doubt. Scrivenor, quoting from 
Coxe's Tour in Monmouthshire, says that " in the early part of 
the eighteenth century John Hanbury invented the method 
of rolling iron plates by means of cylinders." Flower, allud- 
ing to the manufacture of tin plates at Pontypool, says that 
"the discovery of sheet-iron rolling followed in 1728, an in- 
vention claimed alike by John Payne and Major Hanbury, 
and it was in a great measure owing to this improvement 
that we were enabled to turn the tables upon Germany. The 
tin-men were greatly delighted with the English plates ; the 
color was better, and the rolled plates were found to be more 
pliable than the foreign ones, which were hammered." The 
following is taken from Ure's Dictionary of the Arts : " In 
1728 John Payne invented a process for rolling iron. This 
seems to have at once led to the use of the flat or sheet rolls 
for the manufacture of iron for tin plates ; but it is very re- 
markable that no further progress was made in this discov- 
ery of rolling iron until 1783, when Henry Cort introduced the 
grooved rolls." Percy says : " With respect to the invention 
of grooved rolls it has been maintained that Cort's claim is 
invalidated by the old patent granted to John Payne in 1728." 
It is certain, however, that even plain rolls did not come into 
general use until the rolling mill had been perfected by Cort, 
the refinery fire, the leather and wooden bellows, the tilting- 
hammer, and the water-wheel still holding their place in the 
manufacture of finished iron on the Continent and in Great 

Dr. Johnson, in the diary of his tour in Wales and Mon- 
mouthshire in 1774, says that at an iron works he saw "round 
bars formed by a notched hammer and anvil," and that at a 
copper works he saw " a plate of copper put hot between steel 
rollers and spread thin." The whole passage is as follows: 

Wednesday, August 3 [1774]. * * * We went in the coach to Holy- 
well. ' We there saw a brass work, where the lapis calaminaris is 
gathered, broken, washed from the earth and the lead, though how the 
lead was separated I did not see ; then calcined, afterwards ground fine, 
and then mixed by fire with copper. We saw several strong fires with 
melting pots, but the construction of the fire-places I did not learn. At a 
copper work, which receives its pigs of copper, I think, from Warrington, 
we saw a plate of copper put hot between steel rollers and spread thin. I 
know not whether the upper roller was set to a certain distance, as I sup- 


pose, or acted only by its weight. At an iron works I saw round bars 
formed by a notched hammer and anvil. There I saw a bar of about half 
an inch or more square cut with, shears worked by water, and then beaten 
hot into a thinner bar. The hammers, all worked as they were by water, 
acting: upon small bodies, moved very quickly, as quick as by the hand. I 
then saw wire drawn and gave a shilling. 

We find by an examination of English patents that, on 
November 21, 1728, John Payne, an Englishman, obtained a 
patent for various improvements in the manufacture of iron, 
which consisted in part in the application of certain ashes, 
salt, etc., to pig or sow iron while in the refinery fire, " which 
will render the same into a state of malleability, as to bear 
the stroke of the hammer, to draw it into barrs or other forms 
att the pleasure of the workman, and those or other barrs be- 
ing heated in the said melted ingredients in a long hott arch 
or cavern, as hereafter is described ; and those or other barrs 
are to pass between two large mettall rowlers, (which have 
proper notches or furrows upon their surfass,) by the force 
of my engine hereafter described, or other power, into such 
shapes and forms as shall be required." Plain rolls for roll- 
ing sheet iron for tin plates are not referred to. Other patents 
were subsequently granted in England for the invention of 
rolls of various forms for rolling bar iron. In 1759 a patent 
was granted to Thomas Blockley for rolls which "are to be 
turned and formed of the requisite shape so as to shape the 
article as intended." In 1779 a patent was granted to William 
Bell for rolls which "haye designs sunk in their surfaces." 

In John. Houghton's Husbandry and Trade Improved, print- 
ed in 1697, he speaks of slitting and rolling mills as "late 
improvements." This is the earliest reference we have found 
to a rolling mill in connection with a slitting mill. Such use 
of a rolling mill would probably precede its use for any oth- 
er purpose in connection with the manufacture of iron. In 
Flower's History of the Trade in Tin the manufacture of tin 
plates at Mansvaux, in Alsace, in 1714, is fully described, and 
it is noticeable that the sheet iron then used was hammered. 
This description, which is illustrated, sustains the claim that 
either John Payne or Major Hanbury was fourteen years 
later, in 1728, the first person to roll sheet iron, an innovation 
which presumptively grew out of the use of the rolling mill 
in the manufacture of nail plates as early as 1697, as recorded 


by John Houghton, and which innovation probably followed 
Payne's invention of grooved rolls, patented in 1728. 

We quote below John Houghton 's statement concerning 
the rolling mill just as we find it under the date of Friday, 
October 22, 1697, in Bradley's edition of Husbandry and Trade 
Improved, printed at London in 1727. After describing " how 
the sows and pigs of iron are prepared for bars and drawn 
into such " in the refinery forges, " which are of two sorts," 
the " finery " and the " chafery," he tells us in the following 
words how the bars are converted into nail rods. 

Whereof those they intend to be cut into rods are carried to the slit- 
ting mills, where they first break, or cut them cold, with the force of one of 
the wheels, into short lengths ; then they are put into a furnace to be heat- 
ed red-hot to a good height, and then brought singly to the rollers, by 
which they are drawn even, and to a greater length; after this another 
workman takes them whilst hot, .and puts them through the cutters, which 
are of divers sizes, and may be put on or off according to pleasure. Then 
another lays them straight also whilst hot, and when cold binds them also 
into faggots, and then they are fit for sale. 

And thus I have given an account of the iron works of Staffordshire from 
the oar to the slitting mills, as they are now exercised in their perfection, 
the improvement whereof we shall find very great if w r e look back upon 
the methods of our ancestors that made iron in foot-blasts or bloomeries, by 
means of treading the bellows, by which way they could make but one little 
lump or bloom of iron in a day, not a hundred weight, leaving as much iron 
in the slag as they got out. Whereas now they will make two or three tons 
of cast iron in twenty-four hours ; leaving the slag sp poor that the found- 
ers can not melt them again to profit, not to mention again the vast advan- 
tage they have from the new invention of slitting mills for cutting their bars 
into rods, above what they had antiently. 

Houghton's whole account, from which the above extract 
is taken, is entitled by him "a note of late improvements." 

In the English pamphlet on the British iron trade, printed 
between 1725 and 1731, and already referred to, there is con- 
clusive proof that down to that time all bar iron was ham- 
mered. We quote literally from this pamphlet as follows: 

Pig-iron is brought from the furnace to the forge ; and there by being 
melted and digested in the fire becomes a fixt and malleable substance ; and 
by repeated heats in the fire, and repeated impressions of the hammer, is 
beaten out into long bars or palasades, and upon that account is termed 
bar-iron. Furnaces and forges are comprehended under one common name 
of iron works. Bar-iron is of several sorts, distinguished by particular names 
according to its dimensions and uses. The two most general are merchant- 
bar and mill bar: The one being such shaped iron as is usually imported 


by the merchant, about inch and half or two inches broad and one-third 
thick, and squares of different sizes. The other such as is proper for the 
slitting or rowling-mill, of double dimensions to the former. The slitting 
and rowling-mills are water-engines, whose use is to reduce bar-iron into 
small rods or thin plates, in order to save the expence of charcoal and hu- 
man labour. 

A letter of inquiry to Professor Richard Akerman, of the 
School of Mines, Stockholm, Sweden, requesting such informa- 
tion as might be in his possession concerning the origin of 
the slitting mill and the rolling mill, was answered as follows : 

That slitting mills were in use before rolling mills is most probable and 
nearly certain. At the beginning of this century there could still be found 
slitting mills in which hammered* but not rolled iron was slit. But all slit- 
ting mills were not made on the principle of rolling mills ; many of them 
more resembled scissors. 

The first publication about rolling mills in this country which I have 
seen or know about is De Ferro, by Emanuel Swedenborg, which was print- 
ed in 1734. Swedenborg speaks both about slitting machines on the prin- 
ciple of scissors, cutting three rods at a time, and about slitting mills in 
connection with rolling mills. He describes slitting mills in Sweden, in 
the Liege district of Belgium, in Germany, and in England; but he does 
not say a single word about where he thinks they originated. Swedenborg 
docs not say anything about grooved rolls. In fact he only describes rolling 
mills in connection with slitting mills. On page 253 he speaks about Swed- 
ish rolling mills at Wedewag, Avesta, and Stjernsund. 

On the contrary, Christopher Polhem, in his Patriotiska Testamente, 
which was printed in 1761, ten years after his death when he was 90 years 
old, speaks about rolling mills as such, both for plates and bar iron. He 
says, in chapter 14, "much time and labor can be saved by good rolling 
mills, because a rolling mill can produce 10 to 20 and still more bars at the 
same time which is wanted to tilt only one bar with the hammer. Thus 
very thin bar iron can be made which is useful for hoops and mountings 
of several kinds. Steel also can be rolled out for knife blades, etc., which 
easily can be finished by the blacksmith. The rolls can be so made that 
the knife-steel becomes broad and thin on both sides, or gets the same 
shape as blades of common swords, and these can be cut lengthwise in two 
parts, thus giving suitable material for knives, etc. Rolls also can be made 
for producing quadrangular, round, and half-round bars, not only for iron 
but also for steel, as for all kinds of files which easily can be finished by 
the blacksmith." 

In the next chapter Polhem describes the manner of making wrought- 
iron rolls covered with steel. Further on in the same chapter he speaks of 
rolls for rolling sheets : " As such rolls commonly have a length of three 
quarters, it follows that their diameter must be rather large ; but, as thick 
rolls in comparison with slender ones have only a small effect in stretch- 
ing, broad sheets can not be rolled. If not, two slender wrought-iron rolls 
are put between the two thick cast-iron rolls, which prevent the slender 
rolls from yielding. Such rolls I have put up at Stjernsund after having 


tried their effect by experiments on a small scale." After mentioning eco- 
nomical difficulties, in consequence of which he was obliged to leave un- 
used both this and other expensive machines, he concludes with the fol- 
lowing words : " Yet I willingly grant to others, who perhaps will live dur- 
ing more happy times, what I have not got opportunity to use for myself." 

Polhem says nothing about the time when he put up the said rolling 
mill, but, if you remember that he was born 1661 and died 1751, it seems 
probable that it must have been during the first decades of the eighteenth 
century. Christopher Polhem was the greatest mechanical genius Sweden 
has ever produced, but whether he was the very first inventor of rolling 
mills it is impossible for me to say. At any rate he ought to be mentioned 
among the inventors of rolling mills. In fact, Polhem must be said to be 
the real inventor of what you call the Lauth rolling mill. The only differ- 
ence is that Polhem used four rolls above each other, two small between 
two large ones. 

Gabriel Polhem, a son of Christopher Polhem, in the Transactions of 
the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for 1740, gives a description of a roll- 
ing mill, " the invention of my father," which he (Gabriel Polhem) put up 
at the mint in Ca^el, Germany. He says that the officers of the mint did 
not believe that a- rolling mill could be of any use for the mint, but he was 
in 1733 ordered by King Frederick to put it up, and it proved most useful 
for getting more uniform thickness and weight of the coins. From this 
and other expressions in the description it is quite clear that the said roll- 
ing mill was the very first put up at any mint, but not long afterwards a 
rolling mill also was put up at the Swedish mint. 

This communication from Professor Akerman is a very 
important one, especially in its reference to the use of the 
rolling mill for rolling plate and bar iron before 1751, the 
year of the death of Christopher Polhem. It proves that 
plate and bar iron were rolled before Cort's day, but probably 
not until after the rolling mill had been used as early as 1697 
in connection with the slitting mill, as recorded by Houghton, 
nor until after the invention of sheet-iron rolling in 1728, 
with which the names of Payne and Hanbury are associated. 
The germ of the great invention by which iron and steel are 
rolled into so many and into such infinitely small and won- 
derfully large shapes in our day most likely originated with 
the man who added the rolling mill to the slitting mill, and 
after a laborious investigation we regret that we can not give 
his name nor definitely fix the date of his invention. Cort, 
however, is entitled to the credit of so improving upon all 
previous suggestions that the rolling mill in his hands be- 
came a successful invention for the numerous and important 
purposes to which it is now applied. 


The methods of producing steel 'which were in use before 
Huntsman succeeded in making crucible steel at Sheffield, 
in 1740, to which event we have referred in the chapters 
relating to Great Britain, were substantially only three in 
number. The first method was either closely allied to or was 
wholly identical with the direct or Catalan process for pro- 
ducing iron, the product being variously known as natural 
steel, raw steel, or German steel. The second method was the 
Indian process for converting small pieces of bar iron into 
steel in crucibles, the product being wootz, or Indian steel. 
The third method was the cementation process, in which bars 
of the best iron were carbonized by being heated in contact 
with charcoal, the result being blister steel and shear steel. 
Steel produced by the cementation process is also known as 
German steel, because much attention was long given to its 
production by Germany. All these methods are yet in use. 
A Chinese method heretofore mentioned we pass over. 

The first method, which requires the use of a forge, and 
which was originally applied to iron ore but afterwards to pig 
iron, is most observed in Germany and Austria. In Styria 
the finest tool steel is still produced by the old Frischen proc- 
ess, which consists in refining the excellent Styrian pig iron 
in small charcoal open hearths. The process is essentially 
primitive. Professor Tunner has given a complete account 
of the older open-hearth methods, which has been quoted by 
Dr. Percy. The small works for the production of Styrian 
open-hearth steel are distributed along the banks of rivers 
in the Styrian Alps, each of the works being located at a fall 
of the river capable of developing about 50 horse-power. 

Allied to the above-mentioned process of making steel in 
open hearths which is still practiced in Germany and Austria 
is the following ancient German method, described by Agric- 
ola in his De EG Metallica, printed about the middle of the 
sixteenth century. We use Day's translation. 

Make choice of iron which is apt to melt, and yet hard, and may easily 
be wrought with the hammer ; for although iron, which is made of vitriolic 
ore, may melt, yet it is soft, or brittle, or eager. Heat a parcel of such iron 
red-hot, and cut it into small pieces, and then mix it with a sort of stone 
which easily melts ; then set in the smith's forge, or hearth, a crucible, or 
dish of crucible metal, a foot and a-half broad, and a foot deep ; fill the dish 
with good charcoal, and compass the dish about with loose stones, to keep 


in the mixture of stone and pieces of iron. As soon as the coal is thorough- 
ly kindled, and the dish red-hot, give the blast, and let the workman put on 
by little and little all the mixture of iron and stone he designs. When it is 
melted, let him thrust into the middle of it three or four or more pieces of 
iron, and boil them therein five or six hours with a brisk fire ; and, putting 
in his rod, let him often stir the melted iron, that the pieces may imbibe the 
smaller particles of the melted iron, which particles consume and thin the 
grosser ones of the iron pieces, acting like a ferment to them, and making 
them tender. Let the workman now take one of the pieces out of the fire 
and put it under the great hammer, to be drawn out into bars and wrought ; 
and then, hot as it is, plunge it into cold water. Thus tempered, let him 
again work it on the anvil, and break it; and viewing the fragments, let 
him consider whe thermit looks like iron in any part of it, or be wholly con- 
densed and turned into steel. Then let the pieces be all wrought into bars ; 
which done, give a fresh blast to the mixture, adding a little fresh matter to 
it, instead of that which had been drunk up by the pieces of iron, which 
will refresh and strengthen the remainder, and make still purer the pieces of 
iron again put into the dish ; every which piece let him, as soon as it is red- 
hot, beat into a bar on the anvil, and cast it, hot as it is, into cold water. 
And thus iron is made into steel, which is much harder and whiter than 

Mr. Thomas Turner defined cemented steel as follows in 
a lecture delivered at Birmingham, England, in 1889 : 

For the preparation of best steel for cutlery, tools, and similar purposes, 
it is still customary to adopt the cementation process, though the amount 
of steel so produced is relatively growing less and less each year. This 
process has been used for several centuries at least, and the origin of the 
method is unknown. Selected bars of Swedish or other best-quality iron 
are placed in closed chests and heated in contact with charcoal for about 
a week or ten days, depending on the temper which is desired. By this 
means the wrought iron, which was originally almost entirely free from 
carbon, takes up sufficient of that element to give the metal its character- 
istic properties. Usually some 15 tons of iron are converted in one opera- 
tion, and 12 tons of good coal are consumed. The metal so obtained is cov- 
ered on its surface with small blisters, formed by the reducing action of 
carbon on the small quantities of intermingled slag in the iron, and hence 
is called blister- steel. It is brittle in this state and crystalline in fracture. 
Blister-steel is broken up, piled, re-heated, and hammered, and so forms 
shear-steel, which was originally used for making wool-shears, but is now 
used for many other purposes. The milder varieties of blister-steel are 
used in producing shear-steel, while those which are a little richer in car- 
bon are re-heated and hammered in the same way ; but the operation is 
repeated a second time, and double shear-steel is produced. Shear-steel, 
though admirably suited for many purposes, is not quite uniform in char- 
acter, and this uniformity can only be ensured by melting the metal, so as 
to allow it to mix thoroughly together, and to eliminate the slag and other 
intermingled impurities. Melted steel was unknown before the days of 
Huntsman. [This is disproved by Reaumur. See page 97. J. M. S.] 


Percy says of the cementation process, by which until in 
late years most of the steel of Europe and America was pro- 
duced : " This is an old process, but little is known of its his- 
tory. According to Beckmann there is no allusion to it in the 
writings of the ancients. It was well described by Reaumur 
in 1722, in his admirable treatise on the art of converting 
bar iipn into steel." Landrin says: " Germany is also the first 
country where it was proposed to cement iron. Thence this 
art came to France, and was introduced at Newcastle-on-Tyne 
long before it was known at Sheffield, the present centre of 
that fabrication." The word cementation is derived from the 
former use with charcoal of chemical compositions called ce- 
ments, which were, however, not needed. 

Professor Griiner, of Paris, mentions that Reaumur, in his 
celebrated treatise, The Art of Converting Iron into Steel, pub- 
lished in 1722, says, on page 250, that " iron is transformed 
into steel by immersing it for a short time in melted cast 
iron," and adds that "this process of steel manufacture is in 
use in some countries, and has already been described by Va- 
naccio in his Pyrotechnie, book I., chapter 7." Reaumur says 
in addition, on page 256, that steel may be obtained " by fus- 
ing iron scrap in cast iron," and that he has obtained " forge" 
steel by thus mixing' with cast iron sometimes one-fourth and 
sometimes one-third of wrought iron. The immersion of 
wrought iron in a bath of cast iron is only a form of cemen- 
tation, the absorption of carbon being the main object sought. 
The most common form of cementation, however, has been 
described on a preceding page by Mr. Turner. 

In Dud Dudley's Mettallum Martis, published in 1665, and 
to be found reprinted verbatim in the Journal of the Iron and 
Steel Institute for 1872, the author gives the following descrip- 
tion of the early English foot-blasts and of the later English 
high bloomaries, or stilckofen, which latter he says were still 
in existence in England at the time his account was written. 
With this extract from Dud Dudley's valuable treatise we 
close our citations from the old writers on the mediaeval and 
early modern processes of making iron and steel. 

Let us but look back unto the making of iron, by our ancestors, in foot 
blasts, or bloomeries, that was by men treading of the bellows, by which 
way they could make but one little lump or bloom of iron in a day, not 100 


weight, and that not fusible, nor fined, or malliable, untill it were long burn- 
ed and wrought under hammers, and whose first slag, sinder or scorius, 
doth contain in it as much, or more, iron then in that day the workman or 
bloomer got out, which slag, scorius, or sinder is by our founders at furna- 
ces wrought again, and found to contain much yron and easier of fusion 
than any yron stone or mine of yron whatsoever, of which slag and sinders 
there is in many countryes millions of tuns and oaks growing upon them, 
very old and rotten. 

The next invention was to set up the bloomeries that went by water, for 
the ease of the men treading the bellows, which being bigger, and the water- 
wheel causing a greater blast, did not onely make a greater quantity of iron, 
but also extracted more iron out of .the slag or sinder, and left them more 
poorer of iron then the foot-blasts, so that the founders cannot melt them 
again, as they do the foot blast sinders to profit : yet these bloomeries by 
water (not altogether out of use) do make in one day but two hundred 
pound weight of iron, or there abouts, neither is it fusible, or malliable, but 
is unfined untill it be much burned, and wrought a second time in fire. 

With the exception of the blast furnace, which was slowly 
developed from the high bloomary, and of the cementation 
process for producing steel, which doubtless originated during 
the period when the blast furnace was developed, no impor- 
tant improvement in the manufacture of iron and steel oc- 
curred from the revival of the iron industry in Europe about 
the beginning of the eighth century until we reach the series 
of improvements and inventions in the eighteenth century 
which have already been fully noticed in the chapters relat- 
ing to the British iron industry, a period of a thousand years. 
It is about one hundred years since Henry Cort prominently 
brought the rolling mill and the puddling furnace to the at- 
tention of the ironmaking world, and scarcely a hundred and 
fifty years since coke was first successfully used in the blast 
furnace and steel was first made in England in crucibles. It 
is not two hundred and fifty years since the high bloomary, or 
stuckofen, was in use in England for the production of wrought 
iron direct from the ore. 

Since Huntsman's invention, which still gives us our best 
steel, there have been many other improvements in the man- 
ufacture of steel, and more recently there has been a very 
great relative increase in its production and use as compared 
with iron, until it has become a hackneyed expression that 
this is the age of steel. While this is true in the sense that 
steel is replacing iron, it is well to remember that the ancients 
made steel of excellent quality, and that the art of manufac- 


turing it was never lost and has never been neglected. The 
swords of Damascus and the blades of Toledo bear witness 
to the skill in the manufacture of steel which existed at an 
early day in both Asia and Europe. German steel was widely 
celebrated for its excellence during the middle ages, and steel 
of the same name and made by the same processes still occu- 
pies an honorable place among metallurgical products. Even 
Huntsman's invention of the art of making the finest quality 
of steel in crucibles, while meritorious in itself, was but the 
reproduction and amplification in a modern age of a process 
for manufacturing steel of equal quality which was known to 
the people of India thousands of years ago. 

The ancient and the early European processes for the 
manufacture of both iron and steel do not compare unfavora- 
bly with those of modern times in the quality of the products 
they yielded. Modern processes excel those which they have 
replaced more in the uniformity and quantity of their prod- 
ucts than in their quality. The Germans once had a furnace 
for making small quantities of iron by toilsome manual la- 
bor, one name for which, bauernofen, indicates that it was used 
by farmers when they were not engaged in cultivating or 
securing their crops. This was the blo^seo/en, or osmund fur- 
nace. In the present age mechanical skill of the highest or- 
der unites with the subtle operations of the chemist to produce 
iron and steel in such quantities and with such uniformity 
of product as to amaze not only the modern farmer, who 
does not make a pound of iron, but also the student of his- 
tory, the political economist, the practical statesman, and the 
man of all wisdom. 




HAVING traced in preceding pages, as briefly as the im- 
portance of the subject would permit, the early history of the 
manufacture of iron in the older countries of the world, espe- 
cially in Great Britain, our mother country in this great in- 
dustry as well as in national life, we now cross the Atlantic to 
the shores of that part of the New World which comprises the 
United States. In no other part of the American continent 
has the manufacture of iron ever risen to the dignity of a 
great national industry, and only in Canada of all the politi- 
cal divisions of North or South America outside of the United 
States has a serious effort ever been made to develop native 
iron resources. Indeed it is only in northern latitudes in both 
hemispheres that iron is made in large or even in noticeable 
quantities. This fact is only in part due to geological rea- 
sons. Climate and race tendencies have had much to do with 
the development of the metallurgical and all other productive 
industries in tjie belt of the earth's surface above alluded to, 
and which may well be called the ironmaking belt. It is here 
that we find 

That vigor of the northern brain 

Which nerves the world outworn. 

This vigor is largely due to stimulating climatic condi- 
tions. The same gentle poet from whom we have just quoted 

tells us that 

There's iron in our northern winds ; 
Our pines are trees of healing. 

It would not be profitable to inquire minutely whether 
the mound-builders or any other aboriginal inhabitants of the 
United States, or the aboriginal inhabitants of any other part 
of the American continent, possessed a knowledge of the use 
and consequently of the manufacture of iron. It may be 
said with positiveness that it has not been proved that they 
possessed this knowledge even in the slightest degree, if we 


except the very rare use of meteoric iron. Antiquarians have 
not neglected a subject of so much importance, but their re- 
searches have produced only negative results. Rude hatchets 
and other small implements of iron have been found in sit- 
uations which give color to the theory that they may have 
been of aboriginal origin and may have been made from iron 
ore, but the weight of much concurrent testimony is wholly 
against this supposition. Foster, in his Prehistoric Races of 
the United States of America, says that "no implement of iron 
has been found in connection with the ancient civilizations 
of America." He fully establishes the fact that the mound- 
builders manufactured copper into various domestic and war- 
like implements, but adds that the Indians of North America 
did not use copper in any form, although those of Central 
and South America did. Prescott, the historian of the con- 
quest of Mexico and Peru, says that the native inhabitants 
of these countries, who were at the time, of the conquest the 
most advanced in all the arts of civilization of the immediate 
predecessors of the white race in North and South America, 
were unacquainted with the use of iron, copper serving them 
as a substitute. Our North American Indians were certainly 
unacquainted with the use of iron when the Spaniards, the 
English, the Dutch, and other Europeans first landed on the 
Atlantic coast. Cotton Mather, in his Life of Eliot, says that 
among the Indians of New England "stone was 'used, instead 
of metal, for their tools," and other writers bear like testimo- 
ny concerning all our Indians. The Rev. Dr. Joseph Dod- 
dridge, in his Notes on the Settlement and Indian Wars of the 
Western Parts of Virginia and Pennsylvania, published in 1824, 
expresses the following opinions : " At the discovery of Amer- 
ica the Indians knew nothing of the use of iron. Any peo- 
ple who have ever been in the habit of using iron will be 
sure to leave some indelible traces of its use behind them ; 
but the aborigines of this country have left none." 

With regard to the use of meteoric iron by the aboriginal 
inhabitants of the American continent Professor F. W. Put- 
nam, of Harvard University, the archaeologist, writes us as 
follows : " I have found in the ancient mounds of Ohio mass- 
es of meteoric iron and various implements and ornaments 
made by hammering pieces of meteoric iron. This native 


iron the ancient people of Ohio used the same as they did 
native copper, native silver, and native gold, simply as a 
malleable metal. None of our peoples, I am confident, un- 
derstood smelting iron or in any way manufacturing it from 
iron ore. The Greenland Eskimos made knives and other 
weapons from the native iron found in Greenland, but always 
by hammering, not by melting and casting. After contact 
with Europeans the Indian tribes obtained iron in various 
forms, and in due time learned to heat it and shape it as a 
blacksmith would do." 

In the absence of any positive information confirming 
the use of any other than meteoric iron by any of the abo- 
riginal inhabitants of America the interesting fact may be 
stated that iron has recently been made in Cherokee county 
in the western part of North Carolina by some members of 
the remnant of a bancl of Cherokee Indians. They used the 
primitive Catalan forge, which was introduced into North 
Carolina by the early white settlers, and from the iron so 
produced they made various tools and implements. The 
Cherokees when discovered by Europeans were among the 
most advanced of all the North American Indians in the arts 
which pertain to a civilized mode of life. 

North Carolina first gave to Europeans the information 
that iron ore existed within the limits of the United States. 
The discovery was made in 1585 by the expedition fitted 
out by Sir Walter Raleigh and commanded by Ralph Lane, 
which made on Roanoke Island in that year the first attempt 
to plant an English settlement on the Atlantic coast. In his 
History of American Manufactures Bishop states that " Lane 
and his men explored the country along the Roanoke and on 
both sides from Elizabeth river to the Neuse." Thomas Har- 
iot, the historian of the colony and the servant of Sir Walter, 
says that " in two places of the countrey specially, one about 
foure score and the other sixe score miles from the fort or 
place where wee dwelt, wee founde neere the water side the 
ground to be rockie, which, by the triall of a mineral man, 
was founde to hold iron richly. It is founde in manie places 
of the eountrey else. I know nothing to the contrarie but 
that it male bee allowed for a good marchantable commod- 
itie, considering there the small charge for the labour and 


feeding of men ; the infinite store of wood ; the want of wood 
and deerenesse thereof in England ; and the necessity of bal- 
lasting of shippes." But no attempt was made to utilize this 
discovery, as the colonists were in search of gold and not 
iron. In 1586 they quarreled with the Indians and returned 
to England. A permanent settlement in North Carolina was 
not effected until many years afterwards. Iron ore was not 
mined in North Carolina nor was iron made within its 
boundaries until after many of the other colonies had com- 
menced to make iron. 

In 1607 the first permanent English colony in the New 
World was founded at Jamestown in Virginia by the Virginia 
Company of London, and on the 10th of April in the' follow- 
ing year, 1608, the company's ship, commanded by Captain 
Christopher Newport, sailed from Jamestown loaded with iron 
ore, sassafras, cedar posts, and walnut boards, and on the 20th 
of May it arrived in England. From Neill's history of the 
company we learn that the iron ore was smelted, and " seven- 
teen tons of metal were sold at ,4 per ton to the East India 
Company." This was undoubtedly the first iron made by 
Europeans from American ore. In 1610 Sir Thomas Gates, 
who had spent some time in Virginia, testified before the 
council of the company, at London, that there were divers 
minerals, especially " iron oare," in Virginia, lying upon the 
surface of the ground, some of which ore, having been sent 
home, had been found to yield as good iron as any in Europe. 
The iron here referred to was that which had been sold to 
the East India Company. 

In 1619 the Virginia Company sent to Virginia a num- 
ber of persons who were skilled in the manufacture of iron, 
to "set up three iron works" in the colony. The enterprise 
was undertaken in that year and located on Falling creek, a 
tributary of the James river, which it enters on its right or 
southern bank in Chesterfield county, about seven miles be- 
low Richmond and about sixty-six miles above Jamestown. 
In 1620, as stated by Beverley in his History of Virginia, "an 
iron work at Falling creek in James river" was set up, "where 
they made proof of good iron oar and brought the whole work 
so near a perfection that they writ word to the company in 
London that they did not doubt but to finish the work and 


have plentiful provision of iron for them by the next Eas- 
ter," in the spring of 1621. But neither plentiful provision 
nor any other provision of iron was made on Falling creek 
in 1621, owing to the death of three of the master workmen 
who had the enterprise in charge. In July of that year the 
company sent over John Berkley, "formerly of Beverstone 
Castle, Gloucester, a gentleman of an honorable family," to 
take charge of the work. He was accompanied by his son 
Maurice and twenty experienced workmen. In a letter from 
the company to the colonial authorities, dated July 25, 1621, 
it was stated that " the advancement of the iron works we 
esteeme to be most necessarie, by perfecting whereof we es- 
teerne the plantation is gainer. We therefore require all pos- 
sible assistance be given to Mr. Berkley now sent, and all fur- 
therance to his ship, especially good entertainment at their 
landinge." On the 12th of August of the same year the com- 
pany, in a communication to the authorities, wrote respecting 
the iron works and the saw mills which had been projected : 
"We pray your assistance in the perfectinge of these two 
workes ; the profitt will redound to the whole collony, and 
therefore it is necessary that you extend your authoritie to 
the utmost lymitts to enforce such as shall refuse the help to 
a business so much tending to the generall good." On the 
5th of December, 1621, the company again wrote, enjoining 
" all possible dilligence and industrious care, to further and 
accomplish those great and many designes of salte, sawdnge 
mills, and iron." In January, 1622, the authorities wrote to 
the company that " the care we have taken of the iron workes 
we reserve to be reported by Mr. Thresurer and Mr. Barkley 
himself." On June 10th the company wrote of " the good 
enterance w ch we have understood you have made in the iron 
works and other staple comodities," and added, " let us have 
at least by the next returnes some good quaiititie of iron and 

But before this last letter was written the colony had been 
visited by the Indian massacre of the 22d of March, 1622, in 
which John Berkley and all his workmen were slain and the 
works were destroyed. These works were not rebuilt. Bev- 
erley, writing in 1705, says that the project of iron works on 
Falling creek " has never been set on foot since, till of late ; 


but it has not had its full trial." In 1624 the charter of the 
Virginia Company was revoked. And thus disastrously end- 
ed the first attempt by Europeans to make iron in America. 

The " good enterance " mentioned in the company's letter 
of June 10th doubtless referred to satisfactory progress in the 
construction of the works, but there is no positive evidence 
that iron was ever made on Falling creek. Letters from Mr. 
John Berkley had promised that " the company might relye 
upon good quantities of iron made by him " by Whitsuntide 
of 1622, but the massacre occurred before that time. Bever- 
ley, however, in referring to the Falling creek enterprise, says 
that " the iron proved reasonably good ; but before they got 
into the body of the mine the people were cut off in that fa- 
tal massacre." The ore on Falling creek is described as hav- 
ing been brown in color. It w r as bog ore. Mr. Berkley de- 
clared that " a more fit place for iron workes than in Vir- 
ginia, both for woods, water, mynes, and stone," was not to 
be found ; and Mr. George Sandys wrote to the company on 
the 3d of March, 1622, that Falling creek was fitted for mak- 
ing iron " as if nature had applyed herself e to the wish and 
dictation of the workeman ; where also were great stones, 
hardly seene elsewhere in Virginia, lying on the place, as 
though they had beene brought thither to advance the erec- 
tion of those workes." 

We have failed to discover whether the works on Falling 
creek embraced a blast furnace and refinery or a bloomary 
only, but the frequent references to building stone in connec- 
tion with the works, and the length of time and the number 
of workmen occupied in their erection, lead to the inference 
that a furnace formed part of the enterprise. It also seems 
reasonable to suppose that the phrase, " three iron works," 
already quoted in connection with the plans of the Virginia 
Company, meant a blast furnace, a finery, and a chafery, 
these works being used together in England at that day. 

No further attempt to make iron in Virginia appears to 
have been made for many years after the failure on Falling 
creek. In a pamphlet entitled A Perfect Description of Vir- 
ginia, published at London in 1649, it is stated that " an iron 
work erected would be as much as a silver mine." In 1650 
another pamphlet, quoted by Bishop, says of iron ore in Vir- 


ginia : " Neither does Virginia yield to any other province 
whatsoever in excellency and plenty of this oare." In 1687, 
and again in 1696, Col. William Byrd, the first of the name 
in Virginia, set on foot the project of reviving the works 011 
Falling creek, but it was not carried into execution. This is 
the project referred to by Beverley in 1705 as not having had 
" its full trial" 

To encourage manufactures in Virginia the exportation 
from the colony of hides, wool, and iron was forbidden by an 
act of the assembly in 1662, upon penalty of one thousand 
pounds of tobacco for every hide exported, fifty pounds of 
tobacco for every pound of wool exported, and ten pounds of 
tobacco for every pound of iron exported. The iron here re- 
ferred to was doubtless crude, or cast, iron. This restriction 
was removed in 1671, "no successe answering the conceived 
hopes and apparent losses accruing to all inhabitants by the 
refusall of those concerned to buy the commodity es aforesaid," 
but it was reimposed in 1682. We can not learn that during 
the time covered by these enactments, and down to the be- 
ginning of the eighteenth century, there was a single pound 
of iron manufactured in Virginia. Notwithstanding the en- 
couragement given by the Virginia Company and by some 
succeeding colonial authorities to the establishment of do- 
mestic manufactures the settlers of Virginia for a hundred 
years after the settlement at Jamestown devoted themselves 
almost entirely to the raising of tobacco and other agricul- 
tural products. 

Mr. R. A. Brock, of Richmond, a gentleman who has de- 
voted much time to historical research concerning Virginia, 
and who is at present corresponding secretary and librarian 
of the Virginia Historical Society, has recently published an 
account of some of the iron enterprises in the colony in the 
eighteenth century, from which the following interesting ref- 
erence to the site of the iron works on Falling creek is' taken. 

The Falling creek tract fell to the possession of Col. Archibald Gary 
some time prior to the Revolutionary war. Upon it he erected his well- 
known seat, the name of which became in the records of the period a part 
and parcel of his personal designation as Archibald Gary of Ampthill. He 
erected a new iron works on Falling creek. " He purchased pigs of iron 
from Rappahannock, Patowmack, and Maryland. Of these he made bar 
iron. The profits, however, were so small that he abandoned his forge and 


converted hi.s pond to the use of a grist mill about 1760. Nobody then 
knew of any iron mine convenient to Falling creek." 

Falling creek is about a mile below Ampthill. Its waters still furnish 
motive power to a grist mill owned by Mr. H. Carrington Watkins, and 
known as the Ampthill mill. The creek is but an insignificant rivulet 
above the mill, but some twenty yards below it widens into a handsome 
little lake, and some quarter of a mile thence empties into James river. 

About sixty yards from the mill, on the western bank of the creek and 
Hearing the river, the writer picked up several small pieces of furnace 
cinder, presumptive relics of the iron works of 1622. The bluff adjacent 
and incumbent has, it is evident, from repeated washings of the soil, near- 
ly g covered the exact original site. 

On the opposite side of the creek, and to the east of the mill, is clearly 
indicated the site of the forge of Archibald Gary. Here we found numer- 
ous pieces of slag or cinder, some of them fully a hundred pounds in 
weight, and an irregular area, an acre or more in extent, covered with 
finely-broken or comminuted charcoal to the depth of fully two feet; a 
memorial of the fuel used. 

We were informed that about half a mile below Falling creek, near 
James river, there is a low piece of ground known to this day as Iron Bot- 
tom, where may be found plentifully what is known as bog iron on the sur- 
face. It will be recollected that the iron ore already cited as being men- 
tioned by Sir Thomas Gates was described as " lying on the surface of the 
ground." We have also learned since our visit to Falling creek that at a 
point upon its banks, distant inward about two miles from the site of the 
iron works, there are numerous pits some five or six feet in depth, which it 
is evident, from the mineral character of their surroundings, furnished the 
crude ore for the original and ill-starred works. 

In the eighteenth century Virginia became very promi- 
nent in the manufacture of iron, fulfilling in an eminent 
degree, although at a late day, the expectations which had 
been entertained of its iron-producing capabilities by the 
enterprising but unfortunate Virginia Company of London. 




ALTHOUGH iron ore in this country was first discovered 
in North Carolina, and the manufacture of iron was first 
undertaken in Virginia, the first successful iron works were 
established in the province of Massachusetts Bay. In 1632 
mention is made by Morton of the existence of " iron stone " 
in New England, and in November, 1637, the general court 
of Massachusetts granted to Abraham Shaw one-half of the 
benefit of any " coles or yron stone w ch shal be found in any 
comon ground w ch is in the country es disposeing." Iron ore 
had been discovered in the flat meadows on the upper parts 
of the Saugus river, near Lynn, soon after its settlement in 
1629, and in 1642 specimens were taken to London by Rob- 
ert Bridges in the 'hope that a company might be formed for 
the manufacture of iron. This hope was soon realized in the 
formation of " The Company of Undertakers for the Iron 
Works," consisting of eleven English gentlemen, who advanc- 
ed 1,000 to establish the works. John Winthrop, Jr., had 
previously gone to England, and he appears to have assisted 
Mr. Bridges in securing the organization of the company, be- 
coming a member of the company, as did others among the 
colonists. Mr. Endicott, of Salem, in a letter to Governor 
Winthrop, dated December 1, 1642, says : . " I want much to 
hear from your son's iron and steel." Thomas Dexter and 
Robert Bridges, both of Lynn, were among the original pro- 
moters of the enterprise. In his History of Lynn (1844) Alon- 
zo Lewis says that in 1643 " Mr. John Winthrop, Jr., came 
from England with workmen and stock to the amount of one 
thousand pounds for commencing the work. A foundry was 
erected on the western bank of Saugus river. The village at 
the foundry was called Hammersmith by some of the princi- 
pal workmen, who came from a place of that name in Eng- 
land." In NewhalFs revision of Lewis's history, published in 
1865, the iron works are said to have been located near the 


site of the present woolen factories in Saugus Centre, not far 
from Lynn, where large heaps of scoria are still to be seen. 
" This iron foundry at Lynn," says Lewis, " was the first 
which was established in America." Iron is not now man- 
ufactured at or near Lynn, except in its secondary forms. 
There are here large iron foundries, and also wire works, 
nail works, and various other iron enterprises of a reproduc- 
tive character. 

In 1644 and subsequently, as stated by Lewis, the general 
court granted many special privileges to the company. On 
March 7, 1644, it was granted three miles square of land at 
each of six places it might occupy in the prosecution of its 
business. On November 13, 1644, it was allowed three years 
" for y e perfecting of their worke and furnishing of y e country 
with all sorts of barr iron." The citizens were granted liber- 
ty to take stock in the enterprise " if they would complete 
the finery and forge, as well as the furnace, which is already 
set up." On May 14, 1645, the general court passed an or- 
der declaring that " y e iron worke is very successful (both in 
y e richness of y e ore and y e goodness of y e iron)," and that 
between 1,200 and 1,500 had already been disbursed, " with 
which y e furnace is built, with that which belongeth to it, . . 
and some tuns of sowe iron cast in readines for y e forge. . . 
There will be neede of some 1,500 to finish y e forge." On 
October 14th of the same year the company was granted 
still further privileges by the general court, on the condi- 
tion "that the inhabitants of this jurisdiction be furnished 
with barr iron of all sorts for their use, not exceeding twentye 
pounds per tunn," and that the grants of land already made 
should be used " for the building and seting up of six for- 
ges, or furnaces, and not bloomaries onely," The grant was 
confirmed to the company of the free use of all materials 
"for making or moulding any manner of gunnes, potts, and 
all other cast-iron ware." On May 6, 1646, Richard Leader, 
the general agent of the company, who is described as being 
a man of superior ability, purchased " some of the country's 
gunnes to melt over at the foundery." On August 4, 1648, 
Governor Winthrop wrote from Boston to his son, who had 
removed to Pequod, Connecticut, that " the iron work goeth 
on with more hope. It yields now about 7 tons per week." 


On September 30th he writes again : " The furnace runs 8 
tons per week, and their bar iron is as good as Spanish." 

Newhall quotes from a Lynn account book for 1651 the 
following entry: "James Leonnarde, 15 days worke about 
fimierey chimneye and other worke in y e forge, 1 : 13 : 0. 
To ditto Leonard for dressing his bellows 3 times, 1 : 10 : 0." 
Edward Johnson, of Woburn, in describing Lynn in 1652, 
in his Wonder Working Providence, printed in 1654, says that 
" there is also an iron mill in constant use ; " and Mr. Lewis 
states that, prior to 1671, " the iron works for several years 
were carried on with vigor, and furnished most of the iron 
used in the colony." After 1671 they were fitfully operated, 
and about 1688 they appear to have been finally abandoned. 
Their owners were harassed after 1651 with frequent lawsuits, 
arising from the overflow of the water in the dam. The fear 
that the works would create a scarcity of timber also appears 
to have added to their unpopularity. Rev. William Hubbard, 
in his Present State of New England, printed in 1677, says that 
"a work was set up at Lynn upon a very commodious stream, 
which was very much promoted and strenuously carried on 
for some time, but at length, instead of drawing out bars of 
iron for the country's use, there was hammered out nothing 
but contentions and lawsuits." 

From the foregoing details it is plainly established that 
the enterprise at Lynn embraced a blast furnace, or " found- 
ery," and a refinery forge. The term found ery was long a 
synonym for furnace, castings being made directly from the 
furnace, as has been previously stated. This usage contin- 
ued in this country down to about the middle of the present 
century, and it is still followed in some European countries. 
That the furnace was in operation in May, 1645, is certain, 
and that the forge was in operation in September, 1648, is 
equally certain. These dates may be accepted as definitely 
determining, respectively, the first successful attempts in 
this country to make " sowe iron" and other castings in a 
blast furnace and to make " barr iron " in a refinery forge 
from " sowe iron." 

Mr. Nathan M. Hawkes, of Lynn, furnished to the Maga- 
zine of American History for November, 1889, the following 
description of the exact site of the Lvnn iron works. 


Midway between Salem and Boston, the first and second capitals of 
Massachusetts, there flows a serpentine little stream called the Saugus by 
the Indians and their English successors. Tide-water meets the down-flow- 
ing fresh water two miles from the bay between Round Hill on the west 
and the dark forest on the east. Just where the currents lap each other on 
the bank of the stream is a long sloping mound like a sea-serpent's back, 
which to the passer-by seems but a freak of nature. The hand of man, 
however, wrought that earth-work. At this point w r as the upper ferry cross- 
ed in the early days by Endicott and Winthrop and all the Puritan wor- 
thies in the infancy of Xew England. The mound which lies at this point 
upon the river-bank, and is known to the natives as " the cinder banks," is 
the heaped-up scoria the refuse, the remainder, the sweepings of an iron 
foundry which was in full blast before the red man had cast his last linger- 
ing look upon his beloved river and upon the blue waters of the Atlantic 
beyond. The fleecy snows have mantled it, the sun has scorched it for two 
centuries, and only an occasional curious observer has disturbed its scanty 
covering of vegetation for some relic of the first manufacturing industry of 
the continent. 

The bog ore was largely taken from the meadows of the farms of Mr. 
Adam Hawkes, two miles north of the works. Mr. Hawkes furnished the 
ore, and he was also the persistent plaintiff in many suits against the com- 
pany for flowing his lands. It is an interesting fact that, while the Puritans 
abandoned all the mother country restrictions concerning the conveyance of 
land, these fields that became the property of Adam Hawkes, and the site 
where he built his first house, about 1630, have never been alienated from 
his family, but are still occupied by his lineal descendants and are yet in the 
same name. This tenacity of holding is an English trait, but it is rare even 
in New England to witness a land tenure so long unbroken. 

Joseph Jenks was a machinist at the Lynn works who 
had come frorii Hammersmith in England and was a man of 
much skill and inventive genius. He prepared the moulds 
for the first castings that were made at Lynn^ "A small iron 
pot, capable of containing about one quart," was the first ar- 
ticle cast at the furnace. In 1844 it was in the possession of 
Mr. Lewis's mother, who was a lineal descendant of Thomas 
Hudson, the first owner of the lands on Saugus river on which 
the iron works were built, and who obtained possession of the 
pot immediately after it was cast, " which he preserved as a 
curiosity." "It has been handed down in the family ever 
since," wrote Mr. Lewis in 1844. Mr. C. M. Tracy, of Lynn, 
writes us in 1890 that by some carelessness years ago one leg 
of the pot was broken off, when a leaden one was made and 
clumsily substituted, but the remainder of the pot " is per- 
fect to-day." " It is of the old dinner-pot pattern," adds Mr. 
Tracy, " and, although holding only about a quart, is heavy 


enough to make three in the hands of a modem founder." 
This first iron utensil cast in this country is now in the pos- 
session of two sons of Alonzo Lewis, residing at Etna Place, 
Lynn. Their names are Llewellyn and Arthur Lewis. 

Joseph Jenks, who became the founder of a noted New 
England family, purchased from Richard Leader on Janu- 
ary 20, 1647, the privilege of building a forge at the Lynn 
iron works for the manufacture of scythes and other edge 
tools. This enterprise was successful. In 1652 he made at 
these iron works, for the mint w r hich was that year estab- 
lished at Boston, the dies for the first silver pieces coined in 
New England. On one side of these coins was the impression 
of a pine tree; hence the name by which they have since 
been known, "pine-tree shillings." In 1654 he made for the 
city of Boston the first fire engine made in America. In 1655 
the general court granted him a patent for an improved 
scythe. His name is also associated with other inventions. 
He died in 1683. Mr. Hawkes says of the scythe which he 
invented : " This improvement consisted in lengthening the 
blade, making it thinner, and welding a square bar on the 
back to strengthen it, as in the scythe of to-day. Before this 
the old English blade was short and thick like a bush scythe. 
This invention lightened the labor and cheered the hearts of 
merry mowers till the mowing machine of our day supersed- 
ed the old emblem of the husbandman." 

Henry and James Leonard were also skilled workmen at 
Lynn. They an,d their descendants were afterwards identified 
with many colonial iron enterprises. The family name is the 
most noted in the annals of the New England iron industry. 
Rev. Dr. Fobes, in referring to the Leonard family in his To- 
pographical Description of Raynliam, ivith its History, written in 
1793, says that " the circumstance of a family attachment to 
the iron manufacture is so well known as to render it a com- 
mon observation in this part of the country, ' Where you can 
find iron works there you will find a Leonard.'" Henry and 
James Leonard are said to have learned their trade at Pon- 
typool, in Monmouthshire. They were forgemen. 

The second iron enterprise that was undertaken in New 
England embraced a furnace and forge at Braintree, in Nor- 
folk county, about ten miles south of Boston. The works at 


Lynn and Braintree belonged to the same company. Bishop 
says that on the 19th of .November, 1643, a grant of 3,000 
acres of the common land at Braintree was made to Mr. Wiii- 
throp and his partners, the Lynn company, " for the encour- 
agement of an iron work to be set up about Monotcot river." 
The true spelling of the name of this river is Monontocot. 
But this grant, according to Lewis, was not surveyed until 
January 11, 1648. On the 29th of September, 1645, as stated 
by Lewis, the first purchase of land, consisting of twenty acres 
"for a forge at Braintree," was made from George Ruggles by 
Richard Leader, who was the general agent for the company 
of undertakers. The furnace was probably built in 1646. 
Robert Child, writing from Boston on the 15th of March, 
1647, to John Winthrop, Jr., " at Pequot river," says of the 
Lynn and Braintree enterprises : " We have cast this winter 
some tuns of pots, likewise mortars, stoves, skillets. Our pot- 
ter is moulding more at Brayntree as yet, which place after 
another blowing we shall quit, not finding mine there." We 
find, however, that iron ore was mined at Braintree in the 
early part of 1652, and that on the 28th of September of that 
year it was proposed at London on behalf of the undertakers 
to employ William Osborne at " Brantry furnas & fordges." 
Operations at the works were suspended in 1653, owing to the 
scarcity of ore. Henry Leonard is said to have superintend- 
ed the erection of the Braintree works, although James Leon- 
ard was certainly connected with them, residing at Braintree 
in 1653, when he removed to Taunton. John Gilford was 
the manager of the Braintree works, according to Newhall. 
In 1651 he succeeded Richard Leader as the agent for the 
works at Lynn. John Adams and his son, John Quincy 
Adams, were both natives of Braintree. 

The next iron enterprise in New England was located in 
the town, or township, of Taunton, (now Raynham,) in Bristol 
county, two miles from the city of Taunton. This enterprise 
was undertaken in 1652 by a company composed of citizens 
of Taunton, who employed Henry and James Leonard and 
Ralph Russell as practical ironworkers. At a town meeting 
at Taunton, held October 21, 1652, " it was agreed and grant- 
ed by the town to the said Henry Leonard and James Leon- 
ard, his brother, and Ralph Russell free consent to come 


hither and join with certain of our inhabitants to set up a 
bloomery work on the Two-mile river." The works thus 
projected were put in operation in 1656. These works, which 
must be called the Taunton forge, are referred to by Lewis 
as "Leonards' celebrated iron works." But the Leonards con- 
tributed nothing tow T ard their erection except their skill as 
ironworkers, James Leonard owning but half a share in the 
stock of the company and his brother not being a stockholder 
at all. George Hall was the first clerk and manager, which 
position he held almost continuously until his death in 1669. 
His successors were John Hall and others until 1683, when 
Captain Thomas Leonard became the manager, and so con- 
tinued until his death in 1713. The forge long continued in 
a prosperous condition. Bar iron was made directly from 
the ore. As Henry Leonard was again at Lynn in 1655, and 
as James Leonard does not appear to have been there after 
1652, it is certain that the latter and his sons and descend- 
ants were the only Leonards who became completely iden- 
tified with the active operations of the Taunton forge. The 
Leonards long continued their connection with the Taunton 
works as master workmen. Ralph Russell did not remain 
at Taunton, and is said to have established a forge at Rus- 
sell's Mills, "which place received its name from him." 

There seems to have existed a strong bond of friendship 
between James Leonard and King Philip, the sachem of the 
Wampanoags. Elisha Clarke Leonard, in an address in 1886 
before the Old Colony Historical Society, at Taunton, fully 
proves that in 1665 Philip gave to James Leonard the 
deed for a neck of land embracing about 150 acres, "lying 
by Mr. Brinton's land at Matapoyset, being bounded on each 
side by a brook," it being the intention of Mr. Leonard to 
" set up a mill or iron work if occasion were." But the deed 
was not confirmed by the colonial authorities, and Mr. Leon- 
ard was deprived of the Indian's gift. 

In an address read before the Old Colony Historical So- 
ciety, at Taunton, in July, 1884, Captain J. W. D. Hall said 
that the hammers "and other heavy iron machinery for the 
Taunton " bloomerie " came from abroad ; also that, on the 
division of Taunton in 1731, the iron works were included in 
'the new town of Raynham. He also said that "the works 


made from 20 to 30 tons annually, which brought from 400 
to 675, averaging about $100 a ton of our currency. About 
a year ago the old buildings were demolished, and the privi- 
lege, dam, and foundation walls alone remain of the ancient 
Taunton iron works of 224 years the oldest successful iron 
manufactory in New England." 

The Taunton forge, says Fobes in 1793, was situated on 
" the great road, and, having been repaired from generation 
to generation, it is to this day still in employ." In William 
Read Deane's Genealogical Record of the Leonard Family, pub- 
lished in 1851, it is stated that " the old forge, though it has 
been several times remodeled, has been in constant use for 
nearly two hundred years, 'and is now in the full tide of suc- 
cessful operation. It is owned by Theodore Dean, Esq., who 
is descended from the Leonards." The forge was at that time 
employed in the manufacture of anchors. In 1865 it was 
still so employed, with four forge fires, two hammers, and two 
water-wheels, but about that time it ceased to be active and 
has since been abandoned and dismantled. 

In 1657 the general court of Massachusetts, owing to the 
failure of the undertakers at Lynn and Braintree to furnish 
the colony with a constant supply of iron, " whereby unsuf- 
ferable damage may accrew," granted to the inhabitants of 
Concord and Lancaster, and such as they should associate 
with them, " liberty to erect one or more iron workes within 
the limitts of theire oune toune bounds, or in any common 
place neere thereunto." That this grant resulted in the es- 
tablishment of iron works at Concord appears probable from 
the grant by the court in 1660, to " y e company in partner- 
ship in the iron worke at Concord," of " free liberty to digg 
mine without molestation in any lands now in the court's 

About 1668 Henry Leonard went to Rowley village, 25 
miles northeast of Lynn, as stated by Newhall, " and there 
established iron works." Lewis says that in 1674 Henry 
Leonard's sons, Nathaniel, Samuel, and Thomas, contracted to 
carry on these works for the owners, whose names are given 
by Bishop as "John Ruck and others of Salem." The works 
did not prove to be profitable. After establishing the Rowley 
works Henry Leonard went to New Jersey, " and there again 


engaged in the iron manufacture." At some time previous to 
his removal to New Jersey he appears to have been connected 
with the establishment of iron works at Canton, about four- 
teen miles south of Boston. 

Other iron enterprises in Massachusetts speedily followed 
those that have been mentioned. In 1677 one of these works, 
the name of which has not come down to us, was . destroyed 
by the Indians. About the same year iron was made at Tops- 
field, near Ipswich, and in 1680 its manufacture was com- 
menced at Boxford. Hubbard, writing about 1677, says that 
at that time there were in the colonies " many convenient 
places, where very good iron, not much inferior to that of 
Bilbao, may be produced, as at this day is seen in a village 
near Topsfield, seven or eight miles w r est from Ipswich." Mr. 
Tracy, however, informs us that there is a tradition that the 
Topsfield works were never very productive. 

From the address of Captain Hall we glean the following 
additional information concerning early Taunton iron works. 

Whittington iron works, on Mill river, were built by James 
Leonard, senior, "forgeman," in 1670. These works embraced 
a"bloomerie with one hearth." Mr. Leonard's three sons, 
Joseph, Benjamin, and Uriah, having served in the Taunton 
iron works at the " refining and bloomerie" trade, worked the 
forge. They also had a grist mill at the same place. Cap- 
tain Hall says that " this was the location of James Leonard's 
iron works." James Leonard died in 1691. The Whittington 
bloomary was continued by his sons and by their succes- 
sors for more than a hundred years. During the first fifty 
years it was supplied with bog ore mined in the vicinity of 
" Scadding's moire" and pond, and "along up Mill river to 
Winneconnet pond." 

In the years 1696 and 1697 the Chartley iron works were 
built on Stony brook, within the limits of Taunton North 
Purchase. " The iron work and tools required were made at 
the Taunton iron works." These works were built by Thom- 
as and James Leonard, and embraced only a bloomary for the 
manufacture of bar iron. They went into operation in 1698. 
In 1713 George Leonard became the sole owner of these 
works and greatly enlarged them. The above enterprise was 
the origin of the noted Leonard iron works of Norton, and 


one of the chief causes of the organization and incorpora- 
tion of that town in 1711. Native bog ore was always used. 

A small forge, or " bloomerie," to use bog ore, was built 
about 1695 " at Taunton line, on Three-mile river, near the 
present site of North Dighton furnace," by Richard Stephens, 
"in connection with his son and others." In 1739 these works 
were enlarged. They appear to have been kept in operation 
until near the close of the eighteenth century. 

" The first hollow- ware manufactory " in the Old Colony 
of New Plymouth was King's furnace, built on Littleworth 
brook, in the eastern part of Taunton, in 1724 and 1725, by 
a stock company of which John King was the principal mem- 
ber ; hence the name, King's furnace. In 1725 the casting of 
hollow-ware was commenced, from the size of a pint kettle to 
a ten-pail cauldron. The ore first used was bog ore found in 
the neighborhood. This furnace was a successful enterprise. 
It was rebuilt in 1816, when it " employed about 30 moulders 
and men, doing a large business." Its wares were even trans- 
ported to New York " by sloops at Weir village, which on 
their return brought pig iron and ore from New Jersey." 
The furnace was in operation for several years after 1839. 

The Hopewell iron works, embracing a bloomary only, 
were built on Mill river, in Taunton, in 1739 and 1740, by 
Captain Zephaniah Leonard, to make bar iron from bog ore. 
The bloomary was succeeded by a rolling and slitting mill, 
erected by John Adam in 1776 and 1777. In 1782 the prop- 
erty passed into the hands of Samuel Leonard and others, of 
Taunton. Captain Hall says that "Russia and Swede iron, 
imported in bars, were rolled and converted into rods for the 
best of hammered nails, furnishing partial employment for 
many farmer nailers within an area of a dozen miles. Fi- 
nally, the business proving unprofitable, the works were aban- 
doned." We pass over other early Taunton iron works. 

For a hundred years after its settlement in 1620 Massa- 
chusetts was the chief seat of the iron manufacture on this 
continent. Most of its iron enterprises during this hundred 
years were ore bloomaries, but there were blast furnaces also, 
although the latter as a rule produced only hollow-ware and 
other castings and not pig iron. During the period men- 
tioned the iron industry of Massachusetts was confined to 


the eastern counties of the colony, where bog and pond ores 
formed the only kinds of ore that were obtainable. Char- 
coal was the only fuel used, and water-power was the only 
power employed. 

The English settlement at New Haven closely followed 
Massachusetts in the manufacture of iron. John Winthrop, 
Jr., who removed from Lynn to Pequod, (New London,) Con- 
necticut, in 1645, had obtained from the general court in the 
preceding year permission to . set up an iron work, and in 
1651 he obtained a grant of certain privileges to enable him 
to " adventure " in the manufacture of iron ; but he does not 
seem to have embarked in the iron business until some time 
subsequently. On" May 30, 1655, as we learn from Bishop, 
it was ordered by the assembly of New Haven " that if an 
iron worke goe on within any part of this jurisdiction the 
persons and estates constantly and onely imployed in that 
worke shall be free from paying rates." In 1658 Captain 
Thomas Clarke, in company with John Winthrop and oth- 
ers, put in operation an " iron worke " at New Haven, and in 
1669 he seems to have been still engaged in the same enter- 
prise, for in that year the general court of Connecticut con- 
tinued the exemption already noted for another seven years, 
"for encouragement of the said worke in supplying the 
country with good iron and well wrought according to art." 
This enterprise embraced a blast furnace and a refinery forge. 
On the 22d of June, 1663, John Davenporte wrote from New 
Haven to John Winthrop, Jr., as follows : " The freshest 
newes here, & that which is e re vestra, is that they have bene 
blowing at the iron worke, and have runne, from the last 6th 
day to this 2d day, 5 sowes of iron, which are commended for 
very good; & this night it's thought they will run another, 
& begin to-morrow to make pots. The worke is hopeful, but 
the workemen are thought to be very chargeable and fro- 
ward." This frowardness was due apparently to the influ- 
ence of an old enemy of iron works and ironworkers, John 
Barleycorn. Bishop records " a proposition made in May, 
1662, 'in y e behalf e of Capt. Clarke, that wine and liquors 
drawn at the iron workes might be custome free 4 ,' which was 
allowed to the extent of one butt of wine and one barrell of 
liquors, and no more." 


Rhode Island made iron soon after its settlement in 1636, 
certainly at Pawtucket and elsewhere as early as 1675, when 
a forge at Pawtucket, erected by Joseph Jenks, Jr., son of 
Joseph Jenks, the machinist at Lynn, was destroyed by the 
Indians in the Wampanoag war, as well as other iron works 
and infant enterprises. A third Joseph Jenks was Gover- 
nor of Rhode Island from 1727 to 1732. The few iron enter- 
prises that were established in this colony in the seventeenth 
century used bog or pond ore, but in the succeeding century 
rock ore was also used. There is a deposit of magnetic iron 
ore in Cumberland township, known as Cumberland hill. 
This hill, or mountain, is described as forming " a homo- 
geneous mass of iron ore, about 500 feet long by 150 feet 
wide and 104 feet high, or, in bulk, equal to about 1,000,000 
tons above water level, while, as the deposit shows an indefi- 
nite extension in depth, the quantity of this ore may be said 
to be practically inexhaustible." Hematite ore was found at 

Iron does not appear to have been made within the limits 
of Maine, New Hampshire, or Vermont until the eighteenth 

We now give an engraving of the Lynn pqt, the first 
iron article made from native ore in America, cast at Lynn, 
Massachusetts, in 1645, and still preserved. This engraving 
is from a photograph obtained in 1890 for this work by Mr. 
C. M. Tracy, of Lynn. The pot weighs 2 pounde, 13 ounces ; 
its capacity is 1 quart less 1 gill ; its inside measurement is 
4.5 inches wide by 4.5 inches deep. 




IN his valuable essay on the iron ores and iron enter- 
prises of Plymouth county, Massachusetts, printed in 1804, 
Dr. James Thacher says : " The first furnace for smelting 
iron ore known in the county of Plymouth was erected in the 
year 1702 by Lambert Despard (a founder) and the family of 
Barkers, his associates, at the mouth of Mattakeeset pond in 
the town of Pembroke, but the wood in the vicinity being 
exhausted the works were long since abandoned." In James 
Torrey's History of Scituate, in Plymouth county, w r ritten in 
1815, mention is made of an iron enterprise in the township 
of Scituate, as follows : " In 1648 Mr. Timothy Hatherly, the 
principal founder and father of the town of Scituate, request- 
ed liberty of the colony to erect an iron mill. It was granted 
in 1650, conditional to be erected within three years, or the 
privilege, certain woodlands about Mattakeeset pond, (now 
Pembroke,) to revert to the colony. It did not, however, take 
place at that period, but l a smelting furnace was erected on 
the precise grant by Mark Despard and the family of Barker 
about 1702.i" The enterprise of Despard and the Barkers 
was speedily followed by the erection of a bloomary forge 
on Bound brook, near Hingham, in 1703, by a company in 
which two brothers, Daniel and Mordecai Lincoln, were part- 
ners. In Torrey's History of Sdtuate mention is made of the 
erection of the Drinkwater iron works, near Abington, about 
1710, by a person named Mighill, probably Rev. Thomas Mig- 
hill. Hingham and Abington are both in Plymouth county. 

About 1722 a bloomary forge was built at Bridgewater, 
which was active in 1750. In 1738 Hugh Orr, a Scotchman, 
established at this place a gun factory, and about 1748 he 
made five hundred muskets for the province of Massachu- 
setts Bay, which are claimed to have been the first muskets 
manufactured in this country. Subsequently he established 
a cast-iron cannon foundry at Bridgewater, and was instru- 


mental in promoting various other manufacturing enterprises. 
In 1730 iron works were erected at Plympton, now Carver, 
which appear to have embraced a blast furnace, as mention 
is made of " the first cast-iron tea-kettle " having been cast at 
Plympton between 1760 and 1765. Bishop says : " That im- 
portant utensil had been previously made of wrought iron, 
and was imported from England. A copper tea-kettle was first 
used at Ply mouth, whence Carver was chiefly settled, in 1702." 

The first slitting mill in the colonies for slitting nail rods 
is said by tradition to have been erected at Milton, in Nor- 
folk county, as early as 1710. Bishop accords this honor to 
Middleborough, in Plymouth county, at a later day, but he 
does not give the date of its erection, except to indicate by 
the context that it was built before 1750. We have in our 
possession a very excellent draft of a slitting mill at Middle- 
borough which is said to have been built by Judge Peter 
Oliver in 1751 and which was abandoned in 1830. This draft 
is by William H. Harrison, of Braintree, Massachusetts. It 
may be found reproduced in the Transactions of the Ameri- 
can Society of Mechanical Engineers for 1881. 

Mr. Tracy writes to us that in the old records of Essex 
county, Massachusetts, is this surprising undated entry, insert- 
ed between two other entries dated May 20th and June 17th, 
1650 : "A caveat is recorded of y e sale of y e slitting mill in Lyn 
by Rich d Ledder for tenn powndes to Capt:Will m Hathorne." 

In 1731 there were officially reported to be in Massachu- 
setts " several forges for making bar iron, and some furnaces 
for cast iron or hollow-ware, and one slitting mill, and a man- 
ufacture for nails." The slitting mill referred to was located 
at either Milton or Middleborough. At the same time there 
were in all New England " six furnaces, meaning hollow-ware 
furnaces, and nineteen forges, meaning bloomaries, not re- 
fineries." "At that time," says Douglass, in his British Settle- 
ments, "we had no pig furnaces nor refineries of pigs" in New 
England. Refineries were in use about twenty years later. 

There were officially reported to be four slitting mills in 
Massachusetts in 1750 two at Middleborough, one at Hano- 
ver, and one at Milton.; also a plating-forge with a tilt-ham- 
mer, and one steel furnace. In 1750 Douglass thus described 
the iron industry of New England : 


Iron is a considerable article in our manufacture ; it consists of these 
general branches : (1) Smelting furnaces reducing the ore into pigs ; having 
coal enough and appearances of rock ore. In Attleborough were erected at 
a great charge three furnaces, fcut the ore proving bad and scarce this pro- 
jection miscarried as to pigs. They were of use in casting of small cannon 
for ships of letters of marque, and in casting cannon-balls and bombs toward 
the reduction of Louisbourg. (2) Kefmeries which manufacture pigs, im- 
ported from New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland furnaces, into bar iron. 
(3) Bloomaries, 'which, from bog or swamp ore, without any furnace, only by 
a forge hearth, reduce it into a bloom or semi-liquidated lump to be beat 
into bars, but much inferior to those from the pigs or refineries. (4) Swamp 
ore furnaces ; from that ore smelted they cast hollow- ware which we can 
afford cheaper than from England or Holland. 

Bog or swamp ore lies from half a foot to two feet deep. In about 20 
years from digging it grows or gathers fit for another digging ; if it lies 
longer it turns rusty and does not yield well. Three tons of swamp ore 
yield about one ton of hollow-ware. One hundred and twenty bushels of 
charcoal are sufficient to smelt rock ore into one ton of pigs. The com- 
plement of men for a furnace is eight or nine, besides cutters of wood, 
coalers, carters, and other common laborers. 

In New England we have two slitting mills for nail rods : one in Mil- 
ton, eight miles from Boston, and another in Middleborough, about thirty 
miles from Boston, wiiich are more than we have occasion for. Our nailors 
can afford spikes and large nails cheaper than from England, but small 
nails not so cheap. 

In New England they do not forge bar iron sufficient for their home 
consumption by bloom aries and refineries ; they import from England, New- 
York, Jersies, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. 

The development of the rich brown hematite iron ores 
of Western Massachusetts commenced about 1750. It is said, 
however, that as early as 1731 iron ore was taken on horse- 
back in leather bags to Ousatonic, now Great Barrington, in 
Berkshire county, from Old Hill mine, in Litchfield county, 
Connecticut, a distance of sixteen miles, and worked in bloom- 
ary forges. A furnace was built at Lenox, in Berkshire coun- 
ty, in 1765, and it made pig iron in the following year. It 
had an exceptionally high stack for that day 28 feet high, 
and was blown with one tuyere. This furnace was torn down 
in 1881. Previous to 1773 a furnace was built at Furnace 
village, in Worcester county, and a few years after that date 
there were several bloomaries and one refinery forge in the 
same county. In 1793 the county contained several manu- 
factories of edge tools, hardware, machinery, etc. In the 
township of Sutton there were at this time one axe, one hoe, 
and five scythe manufactories, and several naileries. In the 


whole county there were seventeen trip-hammers. At Spring- 
field, in Hampden county, as stated by Bishop, some cannon 
were cast and some forging was done during the Revolution, 
but small arms were not made here until after the peace. The 
Government armory at Springfield was established in 1794. 

While the iron industry of Massachusetts was being ex- 
tended westward it made rapid progress in the eastern coun- 
ties. Charlotte furnace at Middleborough was built in 1758, 
and was in operation for many years. During our two wars 
with the mother country it was employed in casting shot and 
shells. The shot which the Constitution carried in her conflict 
with the Guerriere were cast at this furnace. In 1784 there 
were seventy-six iron works in Massachusetts, " many of them 
small." At Amesbury, in Essex county, a furnace was erect- 
ed about 1790, and at Boxborough, in Middlesex county, a 
bloomary forge was built about the same time. In 1795 Dr. 
Morse reported eleven slitting mills in Bristol, Norfolk, and 
Plymouth counties, which rolled and cut in that year 1,732 
tons of iron into hoops and nail rods. Bishop says that " the 
two counties of Plymouth and Bristol had in operation in 
1798 fourteen blast and six air furnaces, twenty forges, and 
seven rolling and slitting mills, in addition to a number of 
trip-hammers and a great number of nail and smith shops. 
Cut and hammered nails, spades and shovels, card teeth, saws, 
scythes, metal buttons, cannon balls, bells, fire arms, sheet 
iron for tin ware, wire, etc., were made in large quantities." 
In 1804 there were ten blast furnaces in Plymouth county, all 
producing castings exclusively. In 1830 only three of these 
were left Charlotte, Federal, and Pope's Point, all in Carver 
township, and all in operation. There were also in 1804 ten 
forges in the same county, which were principally employed 
in working " old iron scraps," broken pots, kettles, etc., and 
produced in all about 200 tons of bar iron per annum. 

Dr. James Thacher, who was a part owner of Federal fur- 
nace, wrote in 1804 a description of this furnace, which was 
built in 1794, and is said by him to have been the most valu- 
able furnace with which he was acquainted, the manufacture 
of castings being "there prosecuted to great extent and ad- 
vantage." The furnace was built of stone, as were all other 
Plymouth furnaces. It was 20 feet high and 24 feet square, 


its walls being 7 feet thick and its interior 10 feet in diameter. 
Charcoal was the only fuel used, and marine shells formed 
the only fluxing material. The furnace was lined with " fire 
stone " composed of " soft slate." A brick funnel at the top of 
the stack served " to convey off the blaze and smoke." The 
Doctor continues his description as follows : 

At the bottom of an arch in the front of the fdrnace is an aperture, 
from which the workmen remove the scoria and dip out the metal. And in 
another arch on one side there is a small aperture for the insertion of the 
pipes of two large bellows 22 feet long and 4 feet wide, which being kept in 
constant alternate motion by the agency of a water-wheel 25 feet diameter, 
a powerful current of air is excited ; and being impelled upon the surface 
of the fuel the fusion of the metal is greatly accelerated. The whole of this 
machinery is included in a large wooden building, affording accommodation 
to the workmen with their apparatus for moulding and casting. 

The specific articles manufactured at the Federal furnace are, besides 
hollow-ware of every description, Seymour's patent rolls for slitting mills, of 
a superior quality, cast in iron cylinders, potash kettles, stoves, fire-backs 
and jambs, plates, gudgeons, anvils, large hammers, cannon shot of every 
kind, with a vast variety of machinery for mills, etc. 

The ores used in the furnaces and bloomaries of Eastern 
Massachusetts in the eighteenth century were chiefly native 
bog and pond ores. Dr. Thacher says, however, that in 1804 
" a very considerable proportion of ore smelted in our furna- 
ces is procured from the very productive mines at Egg Har- 
bor in the State of New Jersey, of a reddish brown color, pro- 
ducing from 30 to 40 per cent, of excellent iron. The usual 
price is $6.50 per ton." He also says that "reddish brown" 
ore in large lumps was obtained from a mine on Martha's 
Vineyard, "affording about 25 per cent, and worth $6 per 
ton." The pond ores contained from 20 to 30 per cent, of 
iron, and the average price was about $6 per ton at the fur- 
nace. Bog ore, found in swamps and other low places, was of 
a " rusty brown color, yielding about 18 per cent, and worth 
$4 per ton at the furnace." The following letter from the 
Rev. Isaac Backus, of Middleborough, dated July 25, 1794, 
gives a description of the manner in which pond ores were 
obtained at that time. 

Vast quantities of iron, both cast and wrought, have been made in this 
part of the country for more than a hundred years past ; but it was chiefly 
out of bog ore, until that kind was much exhausted in these parts, and then 
a rich treasure was opened in Middleborough, which had been long hid 


from the inhabitants. About the year 1747 it was discovered that there was 
iron mine in the bottom of our great pond at Assowamset ; and after some 
years it became the main ore that was used in the town, both at furnaces 
and forges, and much of it has been carried into the neighboring places for 
the same purpose. Men go out with boats, and make use of instruments ^ 
much like those with which oysters are taken, to get up the ore from the 
bottom of the pond. I am told that, for a number of years, a man would 
take up and bring to shore two tons of it in a day ; but now it is so much 
exhausted that half a ton is reckoned a good day's work for one man. But 
in an adjacent pond is now plenty, where the water is twenty feet deep, and 
much is taken up from that depth, as well as from shoaler water. It has 
also been plenty in a pond in the town of Carver, where they have a fur- 
nace upon the stream which runs from it. Much of the iron which is made 
from this ore is better than they could make out of bog ore, and some of it 
is as good as almost any refined iron. The quantity of this treasure, which 
hath been taken out of the bottom of clear ponds, is said to have been 
sometimes as much as five hundred tons in a year. 

Before proceeding further we may here refer to the first 
steel works in Massachusetts. In 1750 it was officially re- 
ported that there was then in Massachusetts " one furnace for 
making steel," but its location is not given. The first steel 
works in Massachusetts of which we can obtain circumstan- 
tial information were established at Easton, in Bristol county, 
in 1775 or 1776, by Eliphalet Leonard. In the early part of 
1826 there appeared in the Boston Patriot a letter written by 
Jonathan Leonard, of Canton, in Norfolk county, which we 
find reprinted in the New England Historical and Genealogical 
Register for October, 1857, and from which we take the fol- 
lowing extracts. 

As to the making of steel, the first attempt made in this country so far 
as my knowledge goes was by my father, Eliphalet Leonard, at Easton, 
about the year 1775 or '76. He was led to that attempt by the extreme 
scarcity of steel and the difficulty of procuring it for his manufactory of 
fire-arms, then in great demand for the defense of the country. He con- 
structed several furnaces, and so far succeeded as to supply himself and 
some of the most urgent wants of his neighbors. 

In 1787 I obtained further insight into the business, and erected at 
Easton a furnace capable of making three tons at a batch. This was con- 
tinued until 1808, when, in consequence of the commercial restrictions, I 
erected another at the same place capable of making ten tons at a batch, 
and afterwards from twenty to thirty tons a year. In 1813 I erected an- 
other furnace at Canton, where I now live, where I made at times about 
one hundred tons of steel a year. 

Towards the close of the Revolution Samuel Downing, of Trenton, New 
Jersey, made considerable blistered steel. During the progress of the Rev- 
olution a certain German at Cumberland, in Rhode Island, made steel from 


the pig after the mode of his country. During the same time some was 
made at Amenia, in the State of New York. In 1809 a steel furnace was 
put in operation at Middleborough and another at Canton by Adam Kins- 
ley, and another at Plymouth. About the year 1799 steel was made at Can- 
ton by Leonard & Kinsley after the German manner, and afterwards by 
Dunbar & Leonard. The manufacture of blistered steel is carried on ex- 
tensively in New York and Philadelphia. 

Cast steel has got much into use within a few years. Some was made 
here during the late war, but it was then difficult to obtain clay that would 
endure a heat sufficient to melt and take it out of the fire. 

There was one Daniel Pettybone who pretended that he invented the 
welding of cast steel with borax and got a patent for his .invention about 
the year 1802. He put the blacksmiths under contribution, and after his 
patent had run out he petitioned Congress to renew it. I told them that 
it was an art considerably well known among blacksmiths, and I procured 
several depositions from aged blacksmiths to prove that they had done it 
in this country as early as the year 1772, and occasionally from that tune 
to 1819. Cast steel had been welded to iron in Canton in 1792, six years 
before Pettybone dated his invention. This was done by the use of borax. 
It has likewise been done by the help of bog iron ore pow r dered fine and 
sprinkled on the steel when at a white heat, and formed at that tempera- 
ture a kind of gluey (glassy) substance which would stick the bars together. 

The steel referred to by the writer of the foregoing letter 
as having been made by his father and himself was cement- 
ed steel, otherwise known as blister steel. The statement 
which he makes concerning the manufacture of steel " from 
the pig," "after the German manner," is very important, as 
it shows that this method of making steel was in use in this 
country in the last century side by side with the manufac- 
ture of blister steel a fact not generally known in our day. 

In the same letter Mr. Leonard gives the following infor- 
mation concerning the blast furnaces of Eastern Massachu- 
setts in 1826 : " There are if I mistake not ten or twelve blast 
furnaces at this time in the counties of Plymouth and Bris- 
tol, and one in Norfolk. General Leach seems to have taken 
the lead of late years in the furnace business. The iron made 
from b'og ore at his furnaces in Easton and Foxborough is 
thought to be softer and better than in other places for ma- 
chinery." Bog ore was therefore used in blast furnaces in 
Massachusetts as late as 1826. More than thirty years ago 
Professor J. P. Lesley wrote of the old bog-ore furnaces of 
Massachusetts as follows : " The old blast furnaces of Plym- 
outh county, making a poor iron, in very small quantities, 
from an ochreous ore dug from the diluvium of the pond 


bottoms, are almost forgotten. Traditions of them remain 
only as jests at the primitive ways they were set to work in. 
One is described as situated on the bank of a stream and 
lashed to a large tree to protect it from the freshets ; when an 
order came for a few tons of iron the neighboring farmers 
assembled and blew it in. Small furnaces and poor ore they 
served their day and are forgotten ; obliterated by the over- 
rush of two commercial iron deluges, one from the English 
importers and the other from the anthracite manufacturers." 
In 1721 Samuel Bissell, a blacksmith of Newport, Rhode 
Island, received a loan of two hundred pounds from the colo- 
nial treasury to enable him to carry on the manufacture of 
nails. In 1735 Samuel "Waldo erected a furnace and foundry 
on the Pawtuxet river, in Rhode Island, which were after- 
wards known as Hope furnace. These are said to have been 
the most important iron works in the State during the eigh- 
teenth century. Cannon and other castings were made here. 
During the Revolution they were active in producing cannon, 
cannon balls, and other munitions of war. Hope furnace 
was^ located on the north branch of the Pawtuxet. In 1765 
Stephen Hopkins, a signer of the Declaration of Independ- 
ence, " began to work a bed of iron ore in the southeastern 
part of Scituate," as we learn from his biography written by 
William E. Foster, and in 1769, as we are informed by the 
same authority, he began the manufacture of iron at Hope 
furnace in company with Nicholas and Moses Brown and 
Israel Wilkinson. About the year 1735 three furnaces were 
erected in Cumberland township, in the northeastern part of 
the State, but they seem to have been abandoned before the 
Revolution. They made " cannon, bombs, and bullets " dur- 
ing the French war of 1755. In 1741 iron works were in 
operation on the south branch of the Pawtuxet river, in the 
town of Warwick, "for the refining of iron." They were 
owned by the sons of Jabez Greene. One of these sons was 
Nathanael Greene, the father of Major General Nathanael 
Greene of the Revolution, who was himself trained to work 
on the farm and at the forge. In 1770 he was in charge 
of a forge at Coventry, in Rhode Island, which was known 
as Greene's forge. In 1789 a rolling and slitting mill was 
established near Providence, on one of the branches of Provi- 


dence river, and before 1800 a rolling and slitting mill had 
been established at Pawtucket Falls and other iron-manu- 
facturing enterprises in various parts of the State. Bishop 
says that " manufactures of iron, including bar and sheet 
iron, steel, nail rods and nails, farming implements, stoves, 
pots, and other castings and household utensils, iron works 
for shipbuilders, anchors, and bells formed the largest branch 
of productive industry in the State toward the close of the 
eighteenth century." 

The iron made in Rhode Island in the eighteenth century 
was obtained from native bog ore in large part, but native 
hematite and magnetic ore were also used, the latter coming 
from Cumberland hill, which has been referred to in the pre- 
ceding chapter. We give below some extracts from a letter 
to the New York Tribune, written in October, 1873, and dated 
at Providence, Rhode Island, which contained a historical ac- 
count of Cumberland hill, or Cumberland iron mountain. 

During the French war, as early as 1755, the inhabitants of this colony 
made from the ore from this very mine, mixed with a hematite ore from 
Cranston, Rhode Island, cannon which were used in the service against the 
French and Indians, and thus it has aided in carrying out the far-reaching 
policy of the great Pitt. In 1800, also, cannon were again cast from these 
ores at Hope, a small village on the Pawtuxet river, in this State, for John 
Brown of Providence, who had a contract with the Government at this date 
to furnish it guns ; and, what is singular, the guns were cast hollow, a sup- 
posed modern invention. At the foot of the mine is a meeting-house, with 
the date " A. D. 1700 " over the door, the beams and joists of which would 
to-day be too unwieldy even for ship timber. Though Rhode Island people 
have not appeared to recognize the importance of this possession, still 
many places, such as Easton, in Massachusetts, which early entered into 
the production of iron, have regularly carted from this mine their supply. 

Litchfield county, in Northwestern Connecticut, contains 
hematite iron-ore mines of great value, from which the ore 
for the celebrated Salisbury iron has been taken for over a 
hundred and fifty years. As early as 1734 a bloomary forge 
was erected at Lime Rock, in Litchfield county, by Thomas 
Lamb, which produced from 500 to 700 pounds of iron per 
day. A blast furnace was afterwards added to this forge at 
Lime Rock, and it is still active in 1890. About 1748 a forge 
was erected at the village of Lakeville, then called Furnace 
village, in the same county, and in 1762 John Haseltine, 
Samuel Forbes, and Ethan Allen purchased the property and 


built a blast furnace at Lakeville, but soon afterwards sold it 
to Charles and George Caldwell, of Hartford. It made two 
and a half tons of iron in twenty-four hours, and three tons 
of ore and 250 bushels of charcoal were used per ton of iron. 
Its blowing apparatus consisted of a pair of leather bellows 
driven by a water-wheel. In 1768 the furnace was sold to 
Richard Smith, of Hartford. Smith was a royalist and fled 
to England during the Revolution, but his furnace was used 
to produce large quantities of cannon, cannon balls, shells, 
etc., for the Continental army. After the Revolution it made 
cannon for the navy, potash kettles weighing nearly half a 
ton each, and pig iron for forges and foundries. This fur- 
nace was abandoned in 1830 or 1831, as we are informed by 
Samuel S. Robbins, president of the Lime Rock Iron Com- 
pany, now in his 87th year. Colonel Ethan Allen, one of the 
original owners of Lakeville furnace, was one of the conspic- 
uous figures of the Revolution. He was born in Litchfield 
county, but remov'ed to Vermont while still a young man. 

A bloomary forge on Mount Riga, in Litchfield county, 
was built about 1781 by Abner or Peter Woodin. It was af- 
terwards owned by Daniel Ball, and was called Ball's forge. 
About 1806 Seth King and John Kelsey commenced to build 
a furnace on Mount Riga, but they were not able to finish 
it, and in 1810 it fell into the hands of Holley & Coffing, 
who completed it in that year and operated it for many years. 
Ttfe forge and furnace have long been abandoned. The lat- 
ter was in operation as late as 1856. 

About thirty furnaces have been built and operated with- 
in a radius of thirty miles of Lakeville, a few of which were 
in New York and Massachusetts, but the majority were in 
Connecticut. At the close of the eighteenth century Litch- 
field county contained many bloomaries, which made iron 
directly from the ore, and three slitting mills. At the same 
time this county was so prominent in the manufacture of 
nails that only Plymouth and Bristol counties in Massachu- 
setts, of all the nail-making districts in the country, e^tce^ded 
its production. The iron of Litchfield county is now used 
entirely for foundry purposes, and most of it is used in the 
manufacture of car wheels. The first foundry for melting 
pig iron in the Salisbury district was built at Lime Rock 


about 1830 and soon afterwards was purchased by Milo Bar- 
num, the founder of the present Barnum Richardson Com- 
pany, and the father of Hon. William H. Barnum. Charcoal 
is the only fuel used in the blast furnaces of this district. 

The annual meeting of the United States Association of 
Charcoal Iron Workers in October, 1885, took place at New 
York, but an excursion was made to the Salisbury region 
in Connecticut. While at Lakeville the local committee had 
arranged for an address of welcome from ex-Governor A. H. 
Holley, a resident of the town, who had all his life been an 
iron worker, and whose son was the late A. L. Holley. Ill- 
ness prevented Governor Holley from attending, but he sent 
a letter of welcome, from which the following is an extract. 

You are in the immediate vicinity of one of the oldest iron mines in 
this country, if not the oldest, it having been wrought more or less for 
about one hundred and fifty years. The iron produced from it has been 
proved, by various tests at the armories, arsenals, and navy-yards of the na- 
tion, to have greater tensile strength and resisting jx>wer than any other 
ever produced. This may seem like an arrogant boast, but the Government, 
some years since, ordered and received samples of the most noted irons, 
foreign and domestic, for the purpose of testing their strength, and the Sal- 
isbury iron endured strains that no other dfd or could. 

You are also within a thousand fee/ of the site of the oldest char- 
coal furnace in all the region about us, erected between the years 1760 and 
1770. The first cannon cast in the United States for service in the Revo- 
lution were made therein. A portion of them w r ere used to arm the ship 
Constitution, the old iron-sides of the American navy. Every one of them 
bore the test required by the inspectors, and none were ever broken either 
by our own powder and balls or by those of the enemy. Since the opening 
and continued use of the old mine above referred to others of great value 
have been developed, within a circuit of fifty miles, which produce iron of 
an exceptionally good quality. 

Oldmixon, in his British Empire in America, mentions " a 
small iron mill " as existing at Branford, in New Haven 
county, in 1741, on a small stream running into Long Island 
sound, and he adds that on many of the small streams and 
branches of the rivers which fall into the sound " bloomaries 
and small works for a variety of manufactures in iron were 
established, some of them quite early." The bloomaries were 
in part supplied with bog ore, " dug near them," and in part 
with better ores obtained elsewhere. Bishop says that in 
1794 a slitting mill and other iron works had been erected 
in East Hartford, a forge at Glastonbury, and two furnaces at 


Stafford " which made sufficient hollow and cast iron wares 
for the whole State." Lesley says that there were at one time, 
about the beginning of the present century, three furnaces 
on a branch of the Willimantic river, in Stafford, in East- 
ern Connecticut, near the Massachusetts line, a mile or two 
apart. Three forges near them converted their pig iron into 
bar iron. Hebron furnace was south of the above-mentioned 
furnaces, and Enfield forge stood a few miles east of Windsor 
Locks. All of these furnaces and forges were stopped about 
1837, when Scotch pig iron began to come into the country 
as a substitute for foundry pig iron of domestic manufacture. 
Connecticut was probably the first of the colonies to make 
steel. In 1728 Samuel Higley, of Simsbury, and Joseph Dew- 
ey, of Hebron, in Hartford county, represented to the legis- 
lature that the first-named had, " with great pains and cost, 
found out and obtained a curious art, by which to convert, 
change, or transmute common iron into good steel, sufficient 
for any use, and was the very first that ever performed such 
an operation in America." The certificates of several smiths, 
who had made a trial of the steel and pronounced it good, 
were produced. He and Joseph Dew r ey were granted the ex- 
clusive right for ten years " of practicing the business or trade 
of steel-making." A "steel furnace" was owned by Aaron 
Eliot, of Killingworth, in Middlesex county, previous to 1750, 
and* in 1761 the Rev. Jared Eliot, of the same place, father 
of the above-mentioned Aaron Eliot, and grandson of John 
Eliot, the apostle to the Indians, succeeded in producing in 
a common bloomary forge, from 83 pounds of black magnet- 
ic sand, a bar of excellent iron, weighing 50 pounds, and in 
his son's furnace a part of the bar was converted into good 
steel. For producing this iron he was awarded a gold medal 
in 1762 by the London Society of Arts, which is now in the 
possession of Charles G. Elliott, of Goshen, New York. It is 
inscribed : " To the Rev. Jared Eliot, M. A., of N. England. 
MDCCLXII. For producing malleable iron from the Ameri- 
can black sand." The medal was sent to Mr. Eliot from Lon- 
don in 1764 " by Thos. Fisher, to the care of our friend, Ben. 
Franklin." This sand, which is found in the southern parts 
of Connecticut, as well as in some other States, never receiv- 
ed much further attention for conversion into iron or steel. 


Aaron Eliot's "steel furnace" was doubtless a cementation 
furnace. In 1750 it was officially reported that there was 
then only one "furnace for making steel" in Connecticut, 
and this was probably Eliot's furnace. 

Iron ore was discovered near Portsmouth, in New Hamp- 
shire, as early as 1634, some of which was sent to England, 
but we find no evidence that its discovery led to the establish- 
ment of any iron works in that colony. The manufacture of 
iron in this State probably dates fr^m about 1750, when sev- 
eral bog-ore bloomaries were in existence on Lamper Eel riv- 
er, but were soon discontinued. About the time of the Revolu- 
tion there were a few bloomaries in operation in New Hamp- 
shire. In 1791 mention is made of iron works at Exeter. At 
Furnace village the magnetic iron ore of Winchester was first 
smelted in 1795 by a Rhode Island company. Franconia fur- 
nace, at Franconia, was,built in 1811 by a company which was 
organized in 1805. This furnace was abandoned in 1865, and 
there is now no blast furnace in the State, nor any other en- 
terprise for the manufacture of iron or steel except the steel 
works of the Nashua Iron and Steel Company, at Nashua. 

Maine had a few bloomary forges in York county during 
the Revolution and for some years afterwards, but she has had 
but few blast furnaces. A small furnace, capable of yielding 
a ton and a half of iron daily, was erected at Shapleigh, in 
York county, about 1838. It was used to produce castings 
from bog ore, and cost only $13,000. A larger furnace, called 
Katahdin, was built in 1845 in Piscataquis county, and* was 
lately active. This is the only furnace now in the State. 
Among its projectors and first owners was the Hon. John 
L. Hayes, a native of Maine, who afterwards became distin- 
guished as a writer on economic subjects and as the secretary 
of the National Association of Wool Manufacturers, and who 
died at his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on April 18, 
1887, aged 75 years. He was born at South Berwick, Maine, 
on April 13, 1812. A forge was erected near Katahdin fur- 
nace soon after 1845. In 1853 it made 700 tons of blooms. 
It was burned down about 1855. There were in 1884 two 
rolling mills in Maine, one at Portland and one at Pembroke, 
but the Pembroke mill has since been abandoned. 

The manufacture of iron was commenced in Vermont 


about 1775. Large deposits of iron ores similar to those of 
Western Massachusetts and Western Connecticut had been 
found in the southern and western parts of the State. In 
Rutland county ore was mined before 1785. In 1794 there 
were fourteen forges, three furnaces, and a slitting mill in this 
county. In other counties there were seven forges in 1794 
one in Bennington, four in Addison, and two in Chittenden. 
Before 1800 other forges and a slitting mill were added in this 
State ; possibly a few furnaces. The township of Randolph, 
in Orange county, had two forges and a slitting mill at this 
period. About the beginning of the present century there 
were twenty bloomaries in the neighborhood of Vergennes, 
in Addison county, all built with Boston capital. The promi- 
nence of Vermont in the manufacture of iron has now been 
lost. In 1890 the East Middlebury forge, its only remaining 
iron enterprise, was finally abandoned. 

The manufacture of nails was one of the household in- 
dustries of New England during the eighteenth century. In 
a speech in Congress in 1789 Fisher Ames said : " It has be- 
come common for the country people in Massachusetts to erect 
small forges in their chimney corners ; and in winter, and in 
evenings, when little other work can be done, great quantities 
of nails are made, even by children. These people take the 
rod iron of ^the merchant and return him the nails, and in 
consequence of this easy mode of barter the manufacture is 
prodigiously great." In a description of the town of Middle- 
borough, in Plymouth county, Massachusetts, written in 1793 
by Nehemiah Bennet, it is mentioned that " the most common 
and general employment of the inhabitants of said town is 
agriculture, which seems to be increasing ; though there are a 
number of mechanicks. Nailing, or the business of making 
nails, is carried on largely in the winters by the farmers and 
young men, who have but little other business at that season 
of the year." When Jacob Perkins, of Newburyport, Massa- 
chusetts, invented about 1790 his nail-cutting machine, which 
was patented in 1795 and speedily followed by other inven- 
tions for the same purpose, the occupation of maSing nails in 
the chimney corner met with a serious check. And with this 
check to the making of nails in chimney corners the work 
of the slitting mills in New England rapidly declined. 


The manufacture of hand-made tacks was also a New Eng- 
land household industry during the last century, and down to 
about fifty years ago. A writer in the Furniture Trade Jour- 
nal thus describes this long extinct industry : " In the queer- 
shaped, homely farm-houses, or the little, contracted shops of 
certain New England villages, the industrious and frugal de- 
scendants of the Pilgrims toiled providently through the long 
winter months at beating into shape the little nails which 
play so useful a part in modern industry. A small anvil 
served to beat the wire or strip of iron into shape and point 
it ; a vice, worked by the foot, clutched it between jaws fur- 
nished with a gauge to regulate the length, leaving a certain 
portion projecting, which, when beaten flat by a hammer, 
formed the head. By this process a man might make, toil- 
somely, perhaps 2,000 tacks per day." New England is now 
prominent in the manufacture of tacks in this country by 
machinery. More than two-thirds of our tack industry is 
controlled by Massachusetts and fully three-fourths by all of 
New England. Taunton is the centre of the New England 
tack industry. 

The earliest notice we have seen of a machine for cutting 
nails occurs in Arnold's History of the State of Rhode Island. 
The author says : " It is said that the first cold cut nail in 
the world was made in 1777 by Jeremiah Wilkinson, of Cum- 
berland, Rhode Island, who died in 1832, at the advanced age 
of 90 years." Bishop gives a description of Wilkinson's very 
crude attempts to make cut nails and tacks. Speaking of 
Wilkinson's tacks he says : " They were first cut by a pair of 
shears (still preserved) from an old chest lock, and afterwards 
headed in a smith's vice. Sheet-iron was afterwards used and 
the process extended to small nails, which he appears to have 
been one of the first to attempt. They were cut from old 
Spanish hoops, and headed in a clamp or vice by hand. Pins 
and needles were made by the same person during the Revo- 
lution, from wire drawn by himself." 

All the bloomaries and refinery forges and old-style fur- 
naces of New England have now disappeared, and in their 
stead have grown up reproductive iron industries of almost 
endless variety and vast extent, which employ large numbers 
of skilled mechanics and add greatly to the material wealth 


of the country. The machine shops, nail and tack factories, 
hardware establishments, foundries, locomotive works, bridge 
works, cutlery works, file and screw factories, agricultural 
implement works, axe and shovel factories, wire works, etc., 
together with a few steel works, modern blast furnaces, and - 
rolling mills, form to-day a striking contrast to the bog-ore 
bloomaries, not much larger than a blacksmith's fire, and the 
small charcoal furnaces and chimney-corner nail factories of 
the last century. "All that," says Lesley, "has given way 
and disappeared before the inventive spirit of New England, 
sustained and, incited by the wealth of its commercial cities." 
It may also with great propriety be added that it has " given 
way" partly because of the exhaustion - of bog ores, partly 
because of the exhaustion of timber for charcoal, and partly 
because many of the streams which formerly furnished an 
abundance of water power are now either dried up or fur- 
nish a very small volume of water. All the primitive con- 
ditions have greatly changed and now belong to ancient his- 
tory. There is a new era in New England. 

Hon. William H. Barnum, for many years a member of 
Congress, and a United States Senator from 1876 to 1879, was 
born at Boston Corners, Columbia county, New York, on Sep- 
tember 17, 1818, and died at Lime Rock, Connecticut, on April 
30, 1889. He was one of the most prominent iron manufac- 
turers of New England. 



DURING the rule of the Dutch in New York, from their 
first settlement on Manhattan Island in 1614 to their surren- 
der to the English in 1664, iron ore was found in various 
places, but no effort to manufacture iron is known to have 
been made. Nor does it appear that the English established 
any iron works in the province until some time after the be- 
ginning of the succeeding century. A Parliamentary report, 
quoted by Pitkin in his Statistical Vieiv of the Commerce of 
the United States of America, printed in 1816, states that there 
were no manufactures in New York as late as 1731 " that 
deserve mentioning." Bishop quotes Governor Cosby as re- 
porting in 1734 that " as yet no iron work is set up in this 
province." The Dutch were never noted as ironworkers in 
their old home in Holland. 

The first iron works in New York of which we have 
authentic information were " set up," according to Bishop, 
a short time prior to 1740, on Ancram creek, in Columbia 
county, about fourteen miles east of the Hudson river, by 
Philip Livingston, the owner of the Livingston manor, and 
the father of Philip the signer of the Declaration. These 
works at first embraced only a bloomary, but as early as 1750 
they appear to have embraced a blast furnace and a refinery 
forge. The supply of ore was obtained mainly from the " ore 
hill" in Salisbury township, Litchfield county, Connecticut, 
of which Mr. Livingston was a principal owner, and which 
had been developed a few years previously. The ore mines 
were about twelve miles distant from the Ancram works. 
Other sources of ore supply were found in the eastern part 
of the manor, near the Massachusetts and Connecticut lines. 
Notwithstanding the inconvenient location of the works, at a 
considerable distance from the mines and also from the near- 
est point of shipment on the Hudson river for the manufac- 
tured iron, they were prosperous until after the Revolution. 
In 1756 they are said to have been the only iron works in the 


province that were then in operation, although others had 
been undertaken. Of these silent or unfortunate enterprises 
Bishop mentions two furnaces in the manor of Cortland, and 
" several bloomaries which had not been worked for several 
years." At Marysburg, in the Livingston manor, were some 
bloomary forges which were operated about the time of the 

Peter Kalm, the Swedish traveler, writing in 1748, says of 
the commerce of New York : " Of late years they have ship- 
ped a quantity of iron to England." Some of this iron was 
doubtless made in Connecticut and New Jersey. Douglass, in 
his British Settlements, written in 1750, speaking of New York, 
says : " The article of iron in pigs and bars is a growing 

Bishop says that iron works were established in Orange 
county prior to 1750, but by whom he does not state. In 
1750 Governor Clinton reported that, at a place called Wa- 
wayanda, in Orange county, about twenty-six miles from the 
Hudson, there was a plating-forge with a tilt-hammer, which 
had been built four or five years before, but was not then in 
use. It was the property of Lawrence Scrawley, a blacksmith. 
" It was the only mill of that kind in the province. There 
was no rolling or slitting mill or steel furnace at that time 
in the province." 

In 1750 a vein of magnetic ore was discovered on Sterling 
mountain, in Orange county, and in 1751 Ward & Colton 
built a furnace at the outlet of Sterling pond. In Eager's 
History of Orange County it is stated that " at the early estab- 
lishment of this furnace the charcoal used was transported sev- 
eral miles on the backs of horses from the mountains where 
it was burned, there being no roads at the time." Bishop 
says that in 1752 " Abel Noble, from Bucks county, Pennsyl- 
vania, erected a forge in Monroe, near the furnace, at which 
anchors are said to have been made." Eager says that the 
first anchor made in New York was made at this forge in 
1753. In 1765 William Hawkhurst published an advertise- 
ment stating that he had lately erected " a finery and great 
hammer for refining the Sterling pig iron into bars," but 
the location of this enterprise is not mentioned. 

The furnace of Ward & Colton and the forge of Abel No- 


ble fell into the hands of Peter Townsend before the Revolu- 
tion. They had been named the Sterling iron works, presum- 
ably after Lord Stirling, the owner of the land, who became 
a general in the Continental army, and who was engaged in 
the manufacture of iron in New Jersey before the Revolution. 
He may have been a part owner of the Orange county en- 
terprises. (The Sterling works have always been spelled as 
here given, but Lord Stirling's name was differently spelled.) 
In 1773 Mr. Townsend made anchors at Sterling. We are 
informed by A. W. Humphreys that the anchors of the 
United States frigate Constitution were made here, and also 
the anchors for the first ships of war that carried the stars 
and stripes. In 1777 "the Townsends" had two forges with 
eight fires. In 1776 Mr. Townsend, according to Bishop, "pro- 
duced the first steel in the province, at first from pig and 
afterwards from bar iron, in the German manner." Bishop 
says that " the first blister steel made in the State was made 
by Peter Townsend, Jr., in 1810, from ore of the Long mine 
on the Sterling estate," but the steel made by the elder Town- 
send in 1776 from bar iron was doubtless blister steel. The 
Long mine was discovered in 1761 by David Jones. Other 
valuable mines than those mentioned were discovered and 
opened on the Sterling estate in the last century. In 1777 a 
second Sterling furnace was built by "the Townsends," and 
in 1806 Southfield furnace was built by them about six miles 
distant from the Sterling mines, and it is still standing. The 
two early Sterling furnaces have been replaced by one mod- 
ern furnace. 

Other mines of iron ore were discovered in Orange county 
during the last century, and many furnaces and forges were 
built in connection with them which have long been aban- 
doned. In 1756 there was a Forest of Dean furnace five miles 
west of Fort Montgomery, which was supplied with ore from 
the Forest of Dean mine, near w r hich it stood. The furnace 
was abandoned twenty-one years later. Eager says that " Cap- 
tain Solomon Townsend, a cousin of Peter Townsend, and who 
married his daughter Anne in 1783, purchased the mountain 
estate adjoining that of his father-in-law, which he named 
Augusta, and established the iron works, anchory, forges, etc., 
at the place." These works were on the Ramapo, three miles 


above the Orange county line, in Orange county. There was 
a forge and anchory on Murderer's creek during the Revolu- 
tion, owned by Samuel Brewster ; after the war they passed 
into the hands of his son-in-law, Jonas Williams. Queens- 
borough furnace, which w r ent out of blast about 1800, and 
which was built to make pig iron and not castings, was locat- 
ed about two and a half miles southwest of Fort Montgom- 
ery. A furnace was in operation at Craigsville during the 
Revolution. On the stream issuing from Hazzard's pond 
there was a furnace named Woodbury about the beginning 
of this century. Greenwood furnace, in Orange county, was 
erected in 1811 by the Messrs. Cunningham. In 1871 it was 
the only charcoal furnace in blast in Southern New York ; 
since that year it also has been silent. During the last cent- 
ury Orange county was the chief seat of the iron manufac- 
ture in New York. 

The following account of the great iron chain which was 
suspended across the Hudson river in 1778, to prevent the 
passage of the British vessels, is compiled from Benson J. 
Lossing's Field Book of tJie Revolution. 

At the close of 1779 West Point was the strongest military post in Amer- 
ica. In addition to the batteries that stood menacingly upon the hill tops, 
the river was obstructed by an enormous iron chain. The iron of which 
this chain was constructed was wrought from ore of equal parts from the 
Sterling and Long mines, in Orange county. The chain was manufactured 
by Peter Townsend, of Chester, at the Sterling iron works, in the same 
county, which were situated about twenty-five miles back of West Point. 
The general superintendent of the work, as engineer, was Captain Thomas 
Machin, who afterwards assisted in the engineering operations at Yorktown, 
when Cornwallis was captured. The chain was completed about the middle 
of April, 1778, and on the 1st of May it was stretched across the river and 

Colonel Timothy Pickering, accompanied by Captain Machin, arrived at 
the house of Mr. Townsend late on a Saturday night in March of that year, 
to engage him to make the chain. Townsend readily agreed to construct it, 
and in a violent snow-storm, amid the darkness of the night, the parties set 
out for the Sterling iron works. At daylight on Sunday morning the forges 
were in operation. New England teamsters carried the links, as fast as they 
were finished, to West Point, and in the space of six weeks the whole chain 
was completed. It weighed 180 tons. 

The chain was stretched across the river at the narrowest point between 
the rocks just below the steamboat landing and Constitution Island oppo- 
site. It was fixed to huge blocks on each shore, and under the cover of 
batteries on both sides of the river. The remains of these are still visible. 


" It is buoyed up," says Dr. Thacher, writing in 1 780, " by very large logs of 
about sixteen feet long, pointed at the ends to lessen their opposition to the 
force of the current at flood and ebb tide. The logs are placed at short dis- 
tances from each other, the chain carried over them, and made fast to each 
by staples. There are also a number of anchors dropped at proper distan- 
ces, with cables made fast to the chain, to give it greater stability." 

Mr. Lossing describes a visit which he made in October, 
1848, to West Point, where he saw a portion of the famous 
chain. He says : " There are twelve links, two clevises, and 
a portion of a link of the great chain remaining. The 
links are made of iron bars, two and a half inches square, 
average in length a little over two feet, and weigh about one 
hundred pounds each." The British vessels did not pass West 
Point. The manufacture of this chain was a great achieve- 
ment. The Sterling forges, at which the chain was made, are 
no longer in operation, but the Sterling works as a whole are 
now the oldest active iron works in New York. Two other 
iron chains were stretched across the Hudson during the war 
to obstruct its passage. One of these was at the mouth of 
Murderer's creek, the iron for which was made at the forge of 
Jonas Williams. The other chain was at Fort Montgomery. 
This chain was broken by the British in 1777. 

The following description of the Sterling works, which 
were the most extensive in New York until after the begin- 
ning of the present century, is translated from a book pub- 
lished at Paris in 1801, and lately discovered in that city 
by Mr. O. H. Marshall, of Buffalo, New York, a gentleman of 
antiquarian tastes. It was written by the Marquis de Creve- 
Cceur, who was in the French service in the French and In- 
dian war, and afterwards traveled extensively in this country. 

Hardly had we put our horses in the stable than Mr. Townsend, the 
proprietor, came to meet us with the politeness of a man of the world. 
Having learned that the object of our journey was to examine attentively 
his different works, he offered to show us all the details, and at once led us 
to his large furnace where the ore was melted and converted into pigs of 60 
to 100 pounds' weight. The blast was supplied by two immense wooden 
blowers, neither iron nor leather being used in their construction. This fur- 
nace, he said, produced from 2,000 to 2,400 tons annually, three-fourths of 
which are converted into bars, the rest melted into cannon and cannon 
balls, &c. From there we went to see the forge. Six large hammers were 
occupied in forging bar iron and anchors and various pieces used on vessels. 

Lower down the stream (which afforded power to the works") was the 
foundry, with its reverberatory furnace (air furnace). Here he called our 


attention to several ingenious machines destined for different uses. The 
models had been sent him, and the machines he had cast from iron of a re- 
cently discovered ore, which after two fusions acquired great fineness. With 
it he could do the lightest and most delicate work. " What a pity," he said, 
"that you did not come ten days sooner. I would have shown you, first, 
three new styles of plows, of which I have cast the largest pieces, and 
which, however, are no heavier than the oM-fashioned. Each one of them 
is provided with a kind of steel yard, so graduated that one can tell the 
power of the team and the resistance of the soil. Second, I would have \ 
shown you a portable mill for separating the grain from the chaff, folio wed j 
by another machine by which all the ears in the field can be easily gather- ' 
ed without being obliged to cut the stalk at the foot, according to the old 

From the foundry we went to see the furnaces where the iron is con- 
verted into steel. "It is not yet as good as the Swedes," said Mr. T., "but 
we approach it a few years more of experience and we will arrive at per- 
fection. The iron which comes from under my hammers has had for a long 
time a high reputation and sells for 28 to 30 per ton." After having pass- 
ed two days in examining these divers works and admiring the skill with 
which they were supplied with water, as well as the arrangements for 
furnishing the charcoal for the different furnaces, we parted from Mr. 

Peter Townseiid, an iron merchant, died on September 27, 
1885, at his residence in East Twenty-third street, New York 
city. He was born at Chester, in Orange county, New York, 
in 1803, and was the third Peter Townsend in direct descent 
who has been identified with the iron industry of the State 
of New York. He was the grandson of the pioneer iron man- 
ufacturer referred to in this chapter, who died in 1783. 

As early as 1765 there were iron works in Dutchess coun- 
ty, some of which were either then or at a later day supplied 
with iron ore from the Salisbury mines in Connecticut. The 
Maltby mine, at Millerton, was opened in 1750. A furnace 
and foundry at Amenia in this county were in operation dur- 
ing the Revolution, " at which steel and castings were made 
for the use of the army." James F. Lewis, of Amenia, says 
that the Amenia mine was opened about 1760, and that the 
ore was used during the Revolution for making guns, " being 
worked in a forge at what is now known as the 'old steel 
works.' " 

In the manor of Philipsburg, in Westchester county, iron 
ore was mined and furnaces were erected before the close of 
the last century. About the time of the Revolution a fur- 
nace named Haverstraw and several bloomaries were in exist- 


ence in Rockland county, on the western side of the Tappan 
Zee. Iron ore was mined in Putnam county in the latter part 
of the last century, some of which was taken to iron works on 
Long Island sound. A bloom ary was in operation about the 
period of the Revolution at Patchogue, in Brookhaven town- 
ship, Suffolk county, Long Island. At Riverhead, in Suffolk 
county, Captain Solomon Townsend established " a manufac- 

ttory of bar iron" before the close of the last century. 

About the year 1800 the celebrated Champlain iron dis- 
trict was developed. In 1801 probably the first iron works 
in the district were built at Willsborough Falls, on the Bo- 
quet river, in Essex county, to manufacture anchors. George 
Throop, Levi Highly, and Charles Kane were the proprietors. 
Among other early iron enterprises in this district were the 
New Russia, Jay, and Elba forges in Essex county, and the 
Eagle rolling mill at Keeseville in Clinton county. This dis- 
trict has been for a long time the most important iron dis- 
trict in the State, containing rolling mills, blast furnaces, and 
forges, but it is not so prominent now as it was formerly. 
The Champlain forges are all true bloomaries, manufacturing 
blooms directly from the rich magnetic and specular ores of 
the neighborhood. The district comprises the counties of 
Essex, Clinton, and Franklin. A forge was built at West Fort 
Ann, in Washington county, south of Lake George, about 
1802, which used ore of precisely the same character as that 
obtained in the Champlain district. 

It has already been stated that the Catalan forge, for the 
manufacture of iron directly from the ore, is still in use in the 
United States. In some of the Southern States it is used in 
the simple and inexpensive form in which it appears to have 
been introduced into this country, and which among metal- 
lurgists is known as the German bloomary. But in the Cham- 
plain district of New York the old Catalan forge, or German 
bloomary, has been greatly improved, so much so that the 
bloomary in use in this district, with its expensive machinery 
and uniform product, may be styled the American bloomary. 
It is fully described by Professor Thomas Egleston in a paper 
in the Transactions of the American Institute of Mining En- 
gineers, volume VIII. The blast is heated, which was never 

\ done with the old Catalan forge, but most of the power is still 


supplied by a water-wheel. Charcoal is the only fuel used, 
and great care is taken in its manufacture, as well as in cal- 
cining the ore, which is of a very pure quality. The bloom 
produced in this forge usually weighs from 300 to 400 pounds. 
From the blooms are obtained billets of refined iron, which 
are used in the manufacture of crucible and open-hearth steel, 
plate and sheet iron, etc. About one ton of billets is pro- 
duced at each forge in twenty-four hours. The blooms and' 
billets are hammered into shape by a trip-hammer. 

In 1883 there were in the Champlain district no fewer 
than 27 large forges, or bloomaries, for the manufacture of 
blooms. They embraced 171 forge fires. In the census year 
1880 there were only 22 forges, with 141 fires, and they pro- 
duced 31,580 net tons of blooms in that year. The production 
of Champlain blooms increased from 23,666 net tons in 1875 
to 43,911 tons in the calendar year 1882. In 1890 the num- 
ber of forges had been reduced to 14, with 102 fires, and their 
production in 1889 was only 12,397 net tons of blooms. 

The Champlain district is a large producer of iron ore, 
much of which is annually shipped to other districts in New 
York and to other States. In 1889 the total quantity of iron 
ore shipped from the mines of this district, chiefly from Es- 
sex and Clinton counties, aggregated 642,092 gross tons. 

West of the Champlain district, in the counties of Saint 
Lawrence, Jefferson, Lewis, Oswego, and Oneida, many char- 
coal furnaces were built 'about the beginning of the present 
century, among the earliest of which were Rossie furnace in 
Saint Lawrence county, Taberg furnace in Oneida county, and 
Constantia furnace in Oswego county. In the extreme west- 
ern and southwestern parts of the State the few iron and 
steel enterprises that have had an existence during the pres- 
ent century have all been of yet more modern origin. 

Nails were extensively manufactured by hand at Albany 
in 1787. Twenty years later, in 1807, John Brinkerhoff, of. 
Albany, lighted the fires in his newly-erected rolling mill on 
the Wynantskill. The Troy Daily Times says that " the oper- 
ations of the little wooden rolling mill built by him were con- 
fined to converting Russian and Swedish bar iron into plates, 
which were slit into narrow strips, and these cut to the re- 
quired length and made into nails by hand." -jn^ 1826 the 


nail factory of John Brinkerhoff was sold at auction and pur- 
chased for $5,280 by Erastus Corning, who was then engaged 
at Albany in the hardware business. It now forms part of 
the works of the Troy Steel and Iron Company, the most ex- 
tensive and important iron and steel works in the State, em- 
bracing a large rolling mill and large blast furnaces and a 
large Bessemer steel plant at Troy. 

Between 1790 and 1800 there are said to have been twen- 
ty-three patents granted in the United States for nail-making 
machinery, and down to 1825 the whole number granted is 
said to have been one hundred and twenty. Among these 
patents was one issued to Josiah G. Pierson, of New York, on 
the 23d of March, 1795, and the machine covered by this pat- 
ent is said to have been the first nail-cutting machine that 
produced satisfactory results and was generally used. The in- 
ventor was at the time a member of the firm of J. G. Pierson 
& Brothers, which in the same year established works at the 
village of Ramapo, in Rockland county, New York, for the 
manufacture of iron and nails, and which had previously, in 
1787 or 1788, been engaged in the manufacture of cut nails, 
with an imperfect machine, in Whitehall street, in the city of 
New York. While the works were in New York the strips 
for the nails were rolled and slit at a mill near Wilming- 
ton, in Delaware, to which Swedish and Russian iron was 
sent, no other mill being available at the time. This incon- 
venience was avoided after the establishment of the works 
at Ramapo, which included a rolling and slitting mill. The 
manufacture of nails by Mr. Pierson's machine was here act- 
ively prosecuted until about 1830, when the same firm, which 
had been making blister steel at Hoboken for twenty years, 
removed its steel furnaces to Ramapo, and substituted the 
manufacture of spring steel for that of nails. The works of 
the Messrs. Pierson at Ramapo have been succeeded by those 
of the celebrated Ramapo Wheel and Foundry Company. 

In Hunt's Merchants' Magazine for 1844 horseshoes made 
by machinery were cited as an illustration of the achieve- 
ments of American inventive genius down to that time. We 
quote from the Magazine as follows : " Horseshoes furnish a 
similar proof of the bearing of the progress of inventions. 
An improved kind of horseshoes, made at Troy, New York, 


for some time past, is now sold at the price of only five cents 
per pound, ready prepared, to be used in shoeing the animal. 
At a factory recently erected fifty tons of these are now turn- 
ed out per day; and, it is believed, they can be made and 
sent to Europe at as good a profit as is derived from Ameri- 
can clocks, which have handsomely remunerated the export- 
er." These horseshoes were made at the Burden iron works, 
formerly the Troy iron and nail factory, which are still em- 
ployed in their production. 

It is not generally known that machine-made horseshoes 
were produced at so early a day in this country as 1844. The 
machine-made horseshoe was patented by Henry Burden in 
1835. Other horseshoe patents were issued to him in 1843, 
1857, and 1862. Mr. Burden was also the inventor of the 
hook-headed spike and of the Burden rotary squeezer the 
latter in 1840. He was born at Dumb lane, Scotland, on April 
20, 1791, and died at Troy on January 19, 1871. 

The iron industry of New York was not so prominent dur- 
ing the eighteenth century as that of some other States, but 
soon after the beginning of the present century the develop- 
ment of the Champlain district gave to it more prominence, 
which was still further increased after 1840, when anthracite 
coal was applied to the manufacture of pig iron. In 1870, 
and again in 1880, New York ranked third in the list of iron 
and steel producing States, Pennsylvania being first in the ag- 
gregate tonnage of iron and steel and Ohio second in the list 
in both years. But in 1890 New York was fifth among the 
States in the production of pig iron, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Ala- 
bama, and Illinois ranking above her in the order mentioned. 
In the production of steel of all kinds she was also the fifth 
in the list, being preceded by Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, 
and West Virginia. 



IN Mr. William Reed Deane's Genealogical Memoirs of the 
Leonard Family, already noticed, it is said that Henry Leon- 
ard left Rowley village, Massachusetts, early in 1674, " and at 
that time, or soon after, went to New Jersey, establishing the 
iron manufacture in that State." His sons Samuel, Nathan- 
iel, and Thomas probably left Rowley village soon after their 
father's departure and followed him to New Jersey. Bishop 
says that Shrewsbury, a township lying northwest of Long 
Branch, in Monmouth county, was settled by Connecticut 
people soon after New Jersey was surrendered to the English 
by the Dutch in 1664, and that it was "to this part of Jer- 
sey" that Henry Leonard removed. About the time of the 
Connecticut settlement James Grover, who had resided on 
Long Island, also settled in Shrewsbury, and is said to have 
established iron works in that township, which he afterwards 
sold to Colonel Lewis Morris, then a merchant of Barbadoes, 
but born in England. On October 26, 1676, a grant of land 
was made to Colonel Morris, with full liberty to him and his 
heirs "to dig, delve, and carry away all such mines for iron as 
they shall find or see fit to dig and carry away to the iron 
work," which grant establishes the fact that the iron works in 
Shrewsbury were built prior to 1676, and that they were then 
owned by Colonel Morris. They were probably undertaken 
about 1674, the year in which Henry Leonard is said to have 
emigrated from Massachusetts to New Jersey. They were the 
first iron works in New Jersey. 

In an account of the province of East Jersey, published 
by the proprietors in 1682, it is stated that " there is already 
a smelting furnace and forge set up in this colony, where is 
made good iron, which is of great benefit to the country." In 
his History of New Jersey Smith says that in 1682 " Shrews- 
bury, near Sandy Hook, adjoining the river or creek of that 
name, was already a township, consisting of several thousand 
acres, with large plantations contiguous ; the inhabitants were 


computed to be about 400. Lewis Morris, of Barbadoes, had 
iron works and other considerable improvements here." In 
1685 it was stated in The Model of the Government of East New 
Jersey that " there is an iron work already set up, where there 
is good iron made." In the same year Thomas Budd, in his 
Good Order in Pennsylvania and Neiv Jersey, wrote that there 
was but one iron work in New Jersey, and that this was lo- 
cated in Monmouth county. All of these statements refer to 
the Shrewsbury works, which do not seem to have had a long 
life. According to Oldmixon they were located between the 
towns of Shrewsbury and Middletown, but other writers more 
definitely locate them at Tinton Falls. The original name 
was probably Tintern Falls, so called after Tintern Abbey in 
Monmouthshire. Bog ore was used. Many years ago a fur- 
nace named Bergen was built in Monmouth county, which 
has long been abandoned. 

The rich deposits of magnetic iron ore in Northern New 
Jersey were discovered at an early day, and about 1710, as we 
are informed by the Rev. Dr. Joseph F. Tuttle, in his Early 
History of Morris County, written in 1869, settlements were 
made on the Whippany river, in Hanover township, in Mor- 
ris county, and at a place now called Whippany, four miles 
northeast of Morristown, a forge was erected, but by whom is 
not now known. Bishop says that the first settlers of Hano- 
ver located there "for the purpose of smelting the iron ores 
in the neighborhood." They " early erected several forges 
and engaged extensively in the iron manufacture." Whip- 
paiiy is about fifteen miles east of the celebrated Succasunna 
iron-ore mine, in. the present township of Randolph, and it 
was here that the settlers obtained their supply of iron ore. 
It was carried to the works in leather bags on pack-horses, 
and the bar iron was carried on horseback over the Orange 
mountains to Newark. Bishop mentions that " forges at Mor- 
ristown, and some in Essex county, were long supplied in the 
same way from the rich ore of the mine. The ore was for 
some time free to all." This celebrated iron-ore deposit has 
long been known as the " Dickerson mine," so called after the 
Hon. Mahlon Dickerson, who was Governor of New Jersey in 
the early part of this century, and was subsequently and for 
many years a United States Senator from the same State. 


Hon. Edmund D. Halsey, in the History of Morris County, 
says that " the tract embracing the Dickerson mine was tak- 
en up on account of its minerals " by John Reading in 1713 
or 1714, who sold it to Joseph Kirkbride in 1716. 

Dr. Tuttle says that in 1722 Joseph Latham sold a tract of 
land in the present township of Randolph, in Morris county, 
to " one John Jackson, who built a forge on the little stream 
which puts into the Rockaway near the residence of Mr. Jacob 
Hurd. The forge was nearly in front of Mr. Hurd's house," 
a mile west of Dover. Wood for charcoal was abundant, and 
the mine on the hill was not far distant. For some reason 
Jackson did not succeed in his iron enterprise, and was sold 
out by the sheriff in 1753. After his failure he is supposed 
to have removed to the western part of Virginia. " Jackson's 
iron works on Cheat river," in that State, mentioned by early 
writers, may have been established by him or his sons. Dr. 
Tuttle says that Rockaway was settled about 1725, or possibly 
as late as 1730, " at which time a small iron forge was built 
near where the upper forge now stands in Rockaway." This 
was the first forge at Rockaway. Mr. Halsey says that it was 
probably built by Job Allen ; it was known as " Job Allen's 
iron works " in 1748. Dr. Tuttle adds that " forges were built 
on different streams, at Rockaway, Denmark, Middle Forge, 
Ninkee, Shaungum, Franklin, and other places, from the year 
1725 to 1770." At Troy, in Morris county, as we learn from 
another source, a forge was built in 1743, which was in oper- 
ation as late as 1860. In 1737, as we are informed by Will- 
iam Nelson, of Pater son, there is a reference to "the Busseton 
forge by Ringwood cold spring " in Passaic county. All these 
forges were bloomaries, manufacturing bar iron directly from 
the ore. In 1751 many of them did not individually produce 
more than five or six tons of iron in a year. 

At the end of the seventeenth century and for some years 
after the beginning of the eighteenth century New Jersey was 
the only colony outside of New England that was engaged in 
the manufacture of iron, and this manufacture was almost 
wholly confined to its bloomaries. The rich magnetic ores, 
the well- wooded hillsides, and the restless mountain streams 
of Northern New Jersey afforded every facility for the man- 
ufacture of iron of a superior quality by this simple meth- 


od, while the nearness of good markets furnished a sufficient 
'inducement to engage in the business. The bloomaries of 
New Jersey were Catalan forges of the German type. Many 
of them were blown by the trompe, or water-blast. 

Not much progress was made, however, in the establish- 
ment of the iron industry in New Jersey until the middle of 
the eighteenth century. From about 1740 down to the Revo- 
lution many blast furnaces and other iron works were built. 
The iron industry of New Jersey during the greater part of 
this period was exceedingly active, although hampered by 
restrictions imposed by the mother country. To the iron 
enterprises which were then built up within its borders the 
patriotic cause was afterwards greatly indebted for much of 
the iron and steel that was needed to secure its success. 

Peter Hasenclever, a Prussian gentleman of prominence, 
who is usually referred to as Baron Hasenclever, emigrated 
to New Jersey about 1764 as the head of an iron company 
which he had organized in London, and brought with him a 
large number of German miners and ironworkers. His ca- 
reer in this country is very fully described by Dr. Tuttle in 
his history and by Mr. Halsey in a letter which we have 
received from him. Dr. Tuttle first gives an account of the 
Ringwood Company, which was organized in 1740 and was 
principally composed of several persons named Ogden, from 
Newark. In that year the company purchased from Cornelius 
Board sixteen acres of land at Ringwood, near Greenwood 
lake, in Bergen (now Passaic) county, where they built a fur- 
nace, afterwards buying from Board other property. In 1764 
Joseph Board conveyed to the Ringwood Company a tract of 
land at Ringwood " near the old forge and dwelling house 
of Walter Erwin." On July 5, 1764, the Ringwood Company 
sold to " Peter Hasenclever, late of London, merchant," for 
5,000, all of its lands and its improvements at Ringwood. 
The deed states that on the property there are " erected and 
standing a furnace, two forges, and several dwelling houses." 
It speaks of "Timothy Ward's forge;" also of the "old forge 
at Ringwood." In 1764 Hasenclever also bought from vari- 
ous persons other tracts of land at Ringwood and in its vi- 
cinity, and in 1765 he bought several tracts from Lord Stir- 
ling. These purchases were located at Ringwood, Pompton, 


Long Pond, and Charlottenburg, all in what was then Bergen 
county. Hasenclever probably also purchased an interest in 
the iron-ore mines at Hibernia. Dr. Tuttle says that " Has- 
enclever at once began to enlarge the old works and build 
others at each of the places just named," that is, Bingwood, 
Pompton, Long Pond, and Charlottenburg. It is probable 
that he built a furnace and one or more forges at each place ; 
three furnaces and six forges he certainly built. The fur- 
naces were erected, respectively, as follows : Charlottenburg, 
on the west branch of the Pequannock ; Kingwood, on the 
Ringwood branch of the Pequannock ; and Long Pond, on 
the Winockie, about two miles from Greenwood lake. Char- 
lottenburg was built in 1767, and was capable of producing 
from 20 to 25 tons of pig iron weekly. Long Pond was in 
blast in 1768. Hon. Abram S. Hewitt writes us that at Ring- 
wood he has a pig of iron with " Ringwood 1770 " marked 
on it by the founder, and Mr. William Nelson, of Paterson, 
writes us that he has seen at Charlottenburg a small pig of 
iron upon which was cast in raised letters " Charlottenburg 

Hasenclever certainly succeeded in making good iron, 
some of which w r as shipped to England. He also made steel 
of good quality " directly from the ore." In 1768 he became 
financially embarrassed, and in 1770 was formally declared a 
bankrupt. He returned to Germany and became a success- 
ful linen manufacturer in Silesia. He was succeeded in the 
management of the company's estate by John Jacob Faesch, 
who had come to New Jersey with him, or soon after him, 
under an engagement as manager of the iron works for seven 
years. Faesch is said to have looked after his own interests 
more than those of the company. In 1771 or 1772 he was 
succeeded by Robert Erskine, a Scotchman, who appears to 
have met with success until 1776, when all the works were 
stopped by the opening of hostilities and Charlottenburg fur- 
nace was burned, but whether accidentally or by the oppo- 
nents of the patriotic cause is not now known. 

Robert Erskine was thoroughly loyal to the Revolution- 
ary cause. He died at Ringwood in 1780, " and his grave 
occupies a retired spot about a quarter of a mile from the 
ruins of the old Ringwood furnace, near the road leading 


from Ringwood to West Milford." The inscription upon his 
tombstone reads : " In memory of Robert Erskine, F. R. S. ; 
geographer and surveyor general to the army of the United 
States ; son of Rev. Ralph Erskine, late minister at Dumf er- 
line, in Scotland. Born September 7, 1735. Died October 2, 
1780, aged 45 years and 25 days." For some time he held 
a commission as captain in the New Jersey militia. New 
Jersey may well honor the memory of this early ironmaster. 
The Adventure furnace at Hibernia in Morris county was 
a famous furnace during the Revolution, casting ordnance 
and other supplies for the army. It was built in 1765. Mr. 
Halsey says that a tract of land was located on November 23, 
1765, "about three-quarters of a mile above the new furnace 
called the Adventure." The name usually given to this fur- 
nace is Hibernia. Dr. Tuttle says that " the names of Lord 
Stirling, Benjamin Cooper, and Samuel Ford are connected 
with the original building and ownership of the Hibernia 
works." He also says that " Benjamin Cooper & Co." held 
"pew No. 6 " in the old Rockaway meeting-house in 1768. A 
grant of certain privileges to encourage the enterprise was 
made by the legislature in 1769. In 1765 Ford sold his in- 
terest in the furnace to Anderson and Cooper, after which sale 
he was actively engaged for a number of years in the busi- 
ness of counterfeiting "Jersey bills of credit," which he after- 
wards pleasantly referred to as "a piece of engenuity." In 
1768 he participated in the robbery of the treasury of the 
province at Amboy, his former partner, Cooper, being one 
of his associates. Ford was arrested in 1773, but escaped to 
Virginia ; Cooper and others were also arrested and convicted, 
but all except one escaped punishment, and he was hanged. 
Previous to the time of his arrest, in 1773, Cooper appears to 
have sold his interest in Hibernia furnace to Lord Stirling, 
who became its sole owner about this time, Mr. Halsey thinks 
in 1771. 

Mount Hope furnace, about four miles northwest of Rock- 
away, was built in 1772 by John Jacob Faesch, after he had 
severed his connection with the London Company. It was 
active until about 1825. It also was a noted furnace during 
the Revolution, casting shot and shells and cannon for the 
Continental army. In September, 1776, Joseph Hoff, who was 


then the manager of Hibernia furnace, wrote to Lord Stir- 
ling that Faesch had requested him " to inform you that he 
wanted 200 tons of pig metal, and wanted to know your price 
and terms of payment. Iron will undoubtedly be in great 
demand, as few works on the continent are doing anything 
this season." This letter indicates that at the time it was 
written Faesch owned or controlled a forge for converting pig 
iron into bar iron. Mr. Halsey says that he became the own- 
er of Middle and. Rockaway forges and the lessee of Mount 
Pleasant forge and the Boonton slitting mill. On the 14th 
of November, 1776, Hoff wrote to General Knox that there 
were 35 tons of shot at Hibernia furnace, and on the 21st of 
November he wrote that it was the only furnace in New Jer- 
sey which he knew to be then in blast. The Hibernia and 
the Mount Hope furnaces were both in blast in 1777. Mr. 
Halsey informs us that among the laws of New Jersey for 
1777 is an act, passed October 7th, exempting from military 
service men to be employed at Mount Hope and Hibernia 
furnaces, and reciting the necessity of providing the army and 
navy of the United States* with cannon, cannon shot, etc., and 
that the works "have been for some time past employed" in 
providing such articles, and " are now under contract for a 
large quantity." Faesch is said by Dr. Tuttle to have become 
the lessee of Hibernia furnace at some time during the war. 
He says " this must have been subsequent to July 10, 1778, 
at which date I find a letter to Lord Stirling from Charles 
Hoff,, his manager at Hibernia, reporting to him what he 
was doing." 

Faesch died at Old Boonton on May 29, 1799, -and was 
buried at Morristown. Mr. Halsey says that he was born in 
the canton of Basle in Switzerland in 1729. Dr. Tuttle says 
that " in his day John Jacob Faesch was one of the great men 
of Morris county, regarded as its greatest ironmaster, one of 
its richest men, and one of its most loyal citizens." General 
Washington and his staff once visited him at Mount Hope. 

Lord Stirling, whose proper name was William Alexan- 
der, was born in the city of New York in 1726 and died at 
Albany in 1783. As has been shown in the chapter relating 
to New York, his name has been given to one of the oldest 
and most successful iron enterprises in the country. His 


wife was a daughter of Philip Livingston, and a sister of 
Philip Livingston the signer of the Declaration. 

Colonel Jacob Ford, Sr., was a large landholder in Morris 
county about the middle of the last century. In 1750 he 
built two forges, probably a finery and chafery, at Mount 
Pleasant, three miles west of Rockaway. There was a forge 
at this place in 1856, but in ruins. In 1764 John Harrirnan 
owned a forge called Burnt Meadow forge, at Denmark, about 
five miles north of Rockaway, of which Colonel Jacob Ford, 
Jr., afterwards became the owner. It was probably built by 
Colonel Jacob Ford, Sr., in 1750. About 1764 Colonel Ford, 
Jr., became the owner of the forge above Mount Pleasant and 
below Denmark, called ever since Middle forge, which was 
built by Jonathan Osborn in 1749. The United States now 
owns the site of the forge last mentioned. John Johnston 
had " iron works " at Horse Pound, now Beach Glen, a mile 
and a half below Hibernia, from 1753 to 1765, as appears 
from references in the title papers of adjoining lands. 

In Andover township, in Sussex county, a furnace and a 
forge were built by a strong company before the Revolution, 
probably about 1760, and the works were operated on an ex- 
tensive scale. About the beginning of hostilities the works 
were closed, the company being principally composed of roy- 
alists. The excellent quality of the iron made from the ore 
of the Andover mine led, however, to such legislation by 
Congress in January, 1778, as resulted in putting them in 
operation. Whitehead Humphreys, of Philadelphia, was 
directed by Congress to make steel for the use of the army 
from Andover iron, as the iron made at the Andover works 
was 'the only iron which would "with certainty answer the 
purpose of making steel." This action of Congress is given 
in detail by the Hon. Jacob W. Miller, in an address before 
the New Jersey Historical Society in 1854, who also records 
the interesting fact that William Penn was an early owner 
of the Andover mine. He says that "on the 10th of March, 
1714, by a warrant from the council of proprietors, he ac- 
quired title to a large tract of land situated among the moun- 
tains then of Hunterton, now of Sussex, county, and William 
Penn became the owner of one of the richest mines of iron 
ore in New Jersey. This mine, since called Andover, was 


opened and worked to a considerable extent as early as 1760. 
Tradition reveals to us that the products of these works were 
carried upon pack-horses and carts down the valley of the 
Musconetcong to a place on the Delaware called Durham, and 
were thence transported to Philadelphia in boats, which were 
remarkable for their beauty and model, and are known as 
Durham boats to this day." 

Franklin furnace, near Hamburg, in Sussex county, which 
was built in 1770 and abandoned about 1860, has been suc- 
ceeded by one of the largest furnaces in the country. There 
were several forges at and near Hamburg in the last century. 

Israel Acrelius, the historian of New Sweden, who resided 
in this country from 1750 to 1756, mentions five iron enter- 
prises as then existing in New Jersey the Union iron works, 
and Oxford, Sterling, Ogden's, and Mount Holly furnaces. 

Oxford furnace, at Oxford, in Warren county, on a branch 
of the Pequest river, was built by Jonathan Robeson in 1742. 
Tradition says that it was first blown by a water-blast. Can- 
non balls were cast at this furnace in the French war of 1755 
/and for the Continental army. The furnace was in opera- 
tion in 1880, using anthracite coal, but in 1882 it went out of 
blast and is now abandoned. We are informed by Mr. Ed- 
mund T. Lukens, secretary and general manager of the Ox- 
ford Iron and Nail Company, that "the original masonry, 
built in 1742, is still standing, encased in strengthening walls, 
which were added from time to time as the binding timbers 
of the old work burned or rotted off. The old stack was 
built in 6-foot rises, (after the first rise of 12 feet for work- 
ing arch,) with 18 inches for each set-off, and these rises were 
bound with heavy timbers, keyed together at the corners." 
Through the courtesy of Mr. Lukens we now have in our 
possession a set of eight fine photographs, seven of which 
show from different points of view the stack and connected 
buildings of the famous old blast furnace of his company, 
while the eighth photograph represents the furnace mansion- 
house, in which Hon. George M. Robesqn, ex-Secretary of the 
Navy, a descendant of Jonathan Robeson, was born. In 1880 
Oxford furnace divided with Cornwall furnace in Pennsylva- 
nia the honor of being the oldest furnace in the United States 
that was then in operation. 


The Sterling furnace referred to was Sterling furnace in 
New York, but this furnace, some particulars of which have 
already been given, was then probably embraced within the 
boundaries of New Jersey. Ogden's furnace was probably the 
Ringwood furnace built by the Ogdens about 1740, as stated 
on a preceding page. After the sale of that furnace to the 
London Company the Ogdens probably built a furnace about 
1765 at Bloomingdale, in Passaic county. Mr. Halsey writes 
us that there was an old stack in good preservation at Bloom- 
ingdale (near Butler) in 1800, which was known as " Ogden's 
furnace." Mount Holly furnace was situated at the town of 
that name, in Burlington county. We are informed by Mr. 
Austin N. Hungerford that it was built in 1730 by Isaac Pier- 
son, Mahlon Stacy, and John Burr. A forge was connected 
with the furnace. The works stood where the saw-mill at the 
south end of Pine street, on Rancocas creek, now stands. In 
1775 sheet iron was manufactured by Thomas Mayberry at 
the forge at Mount Holly, some of which was used to make 
camp-kettles for the Continental army, and in 1776 shot and 
shells were made at the furnace. The British being informed 
that munitions of war were being made at the furnace they 
destroyed the works, which were not rebuilt. 

The Union iron works were situated near Clinton, in Hun- 
terton county, and embraced at the time of Acrelius's visit 
two furnaces and two forges, " each with two stacks ; " also 
a trip-hammer and a "flatting-hammer." These works were 
then owned by William Allen and Joseph Turner, both of 
Philadelphia. William Allen was the chief justice of Penn- 
sylvania from 1751 to 1774. Allentown, in Pennsylvania, was 
named after him. He was largely interested in the manufac- 
ture of iron in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and with him 
was usually associated Joseph Turner. In October, 1775, 
Allen gave his "half of a quantity of cannon shot belong- 
ing to him and to Turner for the use of the Board of the 
Council of Safety;" but he remained loyal to the British 
crown, nevertheless, dying in London in 1780. The Union 
iron works appear to have been entirely abandoned in 1778. 
Judge Allen informed Acrelius that at these works, and also 
at Durham, a Pennsylvania furnace, one and a half tons of 
iron ore yielded one ton of pig iron, and that a good fur- 


nace yielded from twenty to twenty-five tons of pig iron 
every week. 

Mr. Charles P. Keith's Provincial Councillors of Pennsylva- 
nia gives us the following details : " For about fifty years 
Turner was in partnership with William Allen in commercial 
business, the house of Allen & Turner [in Philadelphia] for a 
long time prior to the Revolutionary war being the most im- 
portant in the colony. They also engaged in the manufacture 
of iron, and owned several mines in Pennsylvania and New 
Jersey. The Union iron works, in Hunterton county, New 
Jersey, were the most celebrated, the property at the date of 
Turner's will amounting to 11,000 acres." He died in 1783. 

Except Mount Holly all of the furnaces named used mag- 
netic ore; Mount Holly, according to Acrelius, used "brittle 
bog ore in gravel," which was " only serviceable for castings." 
But the existence of the forge and the further fact that pig 
iron has been found in the ruins of the works show that the 
ore was used for something else than castings. Acrelius 
mentions, but does not name, four bloomaries in New Jersey, 
all " in full blast " during his visit. His list of iron enter- 
prises in New Jersey in his day is incomplete. 

Several blast furnaces were built in the southern and 
southwestern parts of New Jersey at an early day to use the 
bog ore of that section. Of these the furnace at Mount Holly, 
already mentioned, was doubtless the oldest. Batsto furnace, 
also in Burlington county, was built about 1766 by Charles 
Read, who held many offices under the provincial government. 
It cast shot and shells for the Continental army. There was 
a forge connected with this furnace as early as 1786, when 
Batsto bars brought 30 per ton at New York in New York 
currency. A neighboring furnace, Atsion, was also built about 
1766. A few bloomaries were also built in this section in- the 
last century, to work bog ore. The "Jersey pines" furnished 
the fuel for the furnaces and bloomaries, and oyster shells 
supplied the fluxing material for the furnaces. It was stated 
in the chapter relating to New England iron enterprises in 
the last century that ore was taken from Egg. Harbor, in 
New Jersey, to supply some Massachusetts furnaces. This was 
bog ore. Batsto furnace was situated on a branch of Little 
Egg Harbor river, and ran until 1846, when it was abandoned. 


Mrs. Augustus H. Richards, of Philaderphia, has in her pos- 
session an iron plate cast at Batsto furnace, bearing the date 
1766, which doubtless fixes the exact date of its erection. 

Of the early iron works in Southern and Southwestern 
New Jersey additional to the Mount Holly, Batsto, and Atsion 
enterprises, which have been specifically named, mention may 
be made of a few of the most prominent, nearly all built near 
the close of the last century or the beginning of the present 
century. Mr. Austin N. Hungerford, an expert in the prep- 
aration of various local histories relating to Pennsylvania and 
New Jersey, furnishes us with the following information. 

In 1722 the erection of a bloomary forge was undertaken by Isaac Hor- 
ner, Daniel Farns worth, and Joseph Borden on the west side of Black's 
creek, which rises near Georgetown, in Burlington county, and runs a north- 
easterly course between Mansfield and Chesterfield townships and empties 
into the Delaware at Bordentown. On February 1, 1725, the partly -erected 
forge with the property connected with it was conveyed by the three pro- 
prietors to Thomas Potts, a son-in-law of Joseph Borden. On the same day 
he conveyed one undivided half of the property to Colonel Daniel Coxe, (of 
whom mention is made that he had been interested in the manufacture of 
iron for several years,) and one-fourth to John Allen, retaining one-fourth 
interest for himself. The forge was completed in the summer of 1725, and 
was probably operated for a few years, but no account of it has been ob- 
tained. The property afterwards passed into the possession of a Mr. Lewis, 
of Philadelphia. Thomas Potts had emigrated to this country in the ship 
Shields, which brought so many emigrants to West Jersey. 

The most noted ironmaster in West Jersey prior to the Eevolution was 
the Hon. Charles Read. In the year 1766 he built Batsto furnace on Batsto 
creek, a branch of Little Egg Harbor river, about six miles northeast from 
the present village of Elwood, on the Camden and Atlantic Railroad. An 
act of the legislature, passed June 20, 1765, enabled him to erect a dam across 
Batsto creek, and the same act enabled John Estell to erect a dam across 
Atsion river, at Atsion, where Charles Read soon afterwards erected Atsion 
furnace. Taunton furnace, erected by Mr. Read, was built in 1766 in Eves- 
ham township, on Rancocas creek. It was conducted by him until the 
assignment of his property on June 2, 1773. All these enterprises were in 
Burlington county. 

About 1800 Hampton furnace and forge were erected on the Batsto 
branch of the Mullica river, about three and a half miles from Atsion. 
They became permanently idle abou*1840. Speedwell furnace, situated on 
the north branch of Wading river, in Burlington county, was erected be- 
fore the Revolution, but by whom is not ascertained. Gloucester furnace, 
situated on the south side of Little Egg Harbor river, in Mullica township, 
Atlantic county, was erected about the beginning of the present century. 
It was operated until about 1850, when it was abandoned. Martha furnace 
was situated on the Oswego branch of Wading river, about four miles from 


the head of navigation. It was built by one of the Potts family, of Potts- 
town, Pennsylvania, and blown in in 1793. In 1834 it produced 750 tons of 
castings. Wey mouth furnace and forge were situated on Great Egg Harbor 
river, about six miles from May's Landing. They were erected in 1802 by 
Charles Shoemaker, George Ashbridge, Morris Robinson, John Paul, and 
Joseph M. Paul. The fires of the furnace have long since gone out. In 1834 
the product of the furnace was 900 tons of castings, and of the forge, with 
its four fires and two hammers, 200 tons of bar iron. Monroe forge, near 
Weymouth furnace, was situated on South river, about three miles south- 
west from May's Landing. It was owned in 1820 by Lewis M. Walker and 
was abandoned about 1835. Cumberland furnace was situated at the head of 
the Manamuskin, in Cumberland county. The property on which it was lo- 
cated was purchased by Eli Budd in 1785, and he afterwards put up a forge 
for manufacturing iron and operated it for several years. In 1810 his son, 
Wesley Budd, erected a blast furnace. The furnace was operated until 1840, 
when it was abandoned, its last owner being Edward Smith, of Philadelphia. 

Mr. Benjamin Snyder, of Lakewood, Ocean county, gives 
us the following additional information concerning several of 
the southern and southwestern iron enterprises in New Jersey. 

Etna furnace was situated on a tributary of the south branch of the 
Rancocas creek, two and a half miles from Medford, and about four miles 
from Taunton, in Burlington county. It was built by Charles Read before 
the Revolution. Samuel G. Wright for many years owned Federal furnace, 
first known as Dover furnace, where now stands the village of Manchester, 
on the New Jersey Southern Railway, eight miles from Lakewood. In 1814 
Jesse Richards purchased the water power of the Three Partners saw mill 
and erected the Washington furnace. The place has since been known by 
various titles, and is now called Lakewood. The enterprise was a failure, 
and after two years the furnace was abandoned. The stack, one of the 
best of its kind, was left standing, and in 1832 Joseph W. Brick came here 
from Burlington county, purchased the property, and put the furnace in 
blast in 1833. It continued in operation until the close of 1854, being the 
last of the South Jersey iron furnaces to "go out as a finality." The Mon- 
mouth furnace, afterwards called Howell works, eight miles east of Lake- 
wood, was built by William Griffith, of Burlington, was afterwards owned 
by Shippen & McMurtrie, of Philadelphia, and subsequently by James P. 
Allaire, of New York city. It was continued as a furnace with intervals 
of rest until about the year 1846. There was a furnace at Millville, in Cum- 
berland county, and a furnace called Hanover, in Burlington county, both 
the furnaces going out of blast about 1850. There was also a forge, known 
as Mary Ann forge, two or three miles below Hanover furnace. 

Mr. Snyder mentions Etna furnace as having been built 
by Charles Read, but it is not mentioned by Mr. Hungerford. 
Tuckahoe furnace, on Tuckahoe river, in Cape May county, 
was built in the last century and has long been abandoned. 
It appears to have been sometimes called New Etna, There 


was certainly an Etna furnace on Tuckahoe river many years 
ago, probably in the last century. 

It will be seen that the southern and southwestern parts 
of New Jersey produced iron at one time in large quantities 
from bog ores. Iron is not now produced from these ores in 
New Jersey in any form, nor is there a blast furnace in ei- 
ther the southern or southwestern parts of the Sta"te. 

The Batsto iron works were well managed. On July 1, 
1784, they passed into the hands of William Richards, who 
owned and operated them until 1809, when he was succeeded 
in their ownership and management by his son Jesse, who 
operated them until their final suspension in 1846. Another 
son, Samuel, was also prominently identified with the manu- 
facture of iron in Southern New Jersey in the first half of 
the present century, as was also Mark Richards, who was not, 
however, a relative of the other persons of the same name 
who have been mentioned. Mark Richards was of Wurtem- 
burger ancestry, the name being a corruption of Reichert, as 
we are informed by Louis Richards, Esq., of Reading, Penn- 
sylvania ; whereas the family of William Richards was of 
Welsh origin. 

Mark Richards was born in Montgomery county, Pennsyl- 
vania. William Richards was born in Berks county, Pennsyl- 
vania, on September 12, 1738, and died at Mount Holly, New 
Jersey, on August 31, 1823. In early life he was employed 
at Coventry forge and Warwick furnace, in Chester county, 
Pennsylvania, and about 1768 he was employed at Batsto 
as founder. He was a soldier during the Revolution. In 
January, 1781, he became the manager of Batsto iron works. 
Mr. Richards was onw of the great men among the pioneers 
of the American iron industry. 

On November 10, 1750, Governor Belcher certified that \ 
there were in New Jersey " one mill or engine for slitting 
and rolling of iron, situate in the township of Bethlehem, in 
the county of Hunterton, on the south branch of the river 
Raritan, the property of Messrs. William Allen and Joseph 
Turner, of Philadelphia, which is not now in use ; one plat- 
ing-forge, which works with a tilt-hammer, situate on a small 
brook at the west end of Trenton, the property of Benjamin 
Yard, of Hunterton, which is now used ; one furnace for the 


making of steel, situate in Trenton, the property of Benjamin 
Yard, which is not now used." Steel was, however, made at 
Trenton during the Revolution. A rolling and slitting mill 
was built at Old Boonton, in Morris county, before the Revo- 
lution, probably about 1770, by a member of the Ogden fam- 
ily. A more successful enterprise of the same kind was es- 
tablished 'at Dover, in the same county, about 1792, by Israel 
Canfield and Jacob Losey, who also added a factory for cut- 
ting nails, which were headed by hand in dies. In 1800 
there were in this county three rolling and slitting mills, two 
furnaces, " and about forty forges with two to four fires each." 

Mr. Halsey furnishes us with the following episode in the 
history of the Old Boonton slitting mill: "A slitting mill 
was erected at Old Boonton, on the Rockaway river, about 
a mile below the present town of Boonton, in defiance of 
the law, by Samuel Ogden, of Newark, with the aid of his 
father. The entrance was from the hillside, and in the upper 
room first entered there were stones for grinding grain, 'the 
slitting mill being below and out of sight. It is said that 
Governor William Franklin visited the place suddenly, hav- 
ing heard a rumor of its existence, but was so hospitably en- 
tertained by Mr. Ogden, and the iron works were so effectually 
concealed, that the Governor came away saying he was glad 
to find that it was a groundless report, as he had always sup- 

A nail factory was in full operation at Burlington in 1797. 
In 1814 or 1815 Benjamin and David Reeves, brothers, estab- 
lished the Cumberland nail and iron works at Bridgeton, in 
Cumberland county, and for many years successfully manu- 
factured nails, with which they largely supplied the eastern 
markets. These works are still in operation. In 1812 a roll- 
ing and slitting mill was built at Paterson by Nicholas Dela- 
plaine, Samuel Colt, and John Colt, which Mr. Nelson in- 
forms us made shovels and spades, also camp utensils, frying 
pans, etc., for the use of the army. In 1814 the manufacture 
of nails was commenced. At first the nails were headed by 
hand, but subsequently they were cut and headed by one 
operation. In 1820 the works were leased by Colonel Joseph 
Jackson, of Rockaway, and his brother William, and they 
rolled round and square iron. It is important to note the 


year in which the Jackson brothers rolled this iron, as the 
rolling of iron, except in connection with slitting mills, had 
but recently been introduced into this country. In 1822 they 
built the first rolling mill at Rockaway. 

Peter Cooper engaged in the manufacture of iron at Tren- 
ton, New Jersey, in 1845, where, as is stated by the American 
Cydopcedia, " he erected the largest rolling mill at that time 
in the United States for the manufacture of railroad iron, and 
at which subsequently he was the first to roll wrought-iron 
beams for fire-proof buildings." He had previously, however, 
been prominently engaged in the manufacture of iron at Bal- 
timore and in New York city. In connection with members 
of his family he also embarked in many other important 
iron enterprises in New Jersey. His name has been the most 
prominent and the most honored in the iron history of the 
State during the present century. He was born in New York 
city on February 12, 1791, and died at the residence of his 
son-in-law, Hon. Abram S. Hewitt, in the same city, on April 
4, 1883, aged 92 years, 1 month, and 23 days. 

A letter which we have received from Mr. Frederick J. 
Slade, treasurer of the New Jersey Steel and Iron Company, 
at Trenton, gives us the following information. " The first 
rolled beams made at these works were rolled in the spring 
of 1854. These were 7 inches deep, weighed about 81 pounds 
per yard, and were of the form known as deck beams. They 
were used in Harper Brothers' and the Cooper Union build- 
ings, New York, and also on the Camden and Amboy Rail- 
road as rails. They were rolled on a mill having three verti- 
cal rolls, as if a three-high train were turned on end, which 
were patented by William Burrows. 'I' beams were after- 
wards rolled in the same mill, which was, however, after a 
few years replaced by a three-high train having horizontal 
rolls, as in the present usual construction. The name of the 
works at that time was the Trenton iron works, owned by 
the Trenton Iron Company." 

In 1784 New Jersey had eight furnaces and seventy-nine 
forges and bloomaries, but principally bloomaries. 

In Jedidiah Morse's geography, printed in 1795, there is 
the following record of iron enterprises which were in exist- 
ence in New Jersey a year or two earlier. 


The iron manufactories are, of all others, the greatest source of 
wealth to the State. Iron works are erected in Gloucester, Burlington, 
Morris, and other counties. The mountains in the county of Morris give 
rise to a number of streams necessary and convenient for these works, 
and, at the same time, furnish a copious supply of wood and ore of a 
superior quality. In this county alone are no less than seven rich iron 
mines, from which might be taken ore sufficient to supply the United 
States; and, to work it into iron, are two furnaces, two rolling and slit- 
ting mills, and about thirty forges, containing from two to four fires each. 
These works produce annually about 540 tons of bar iron, 800 tons of 
pigs, besides large quantities of hollow ware, sheet iron, and nail rods. 
In the whole State it is supposed there is yearly made about 1,200 tons 
of bar iron, 1,200 ditto of pigs, 80 ditto of nail rods, exclusive of hollow 
ware and various other castings, of which vast quantities are made. Steel 
was manufactured at Trenton in time of the war, but not considerably 

In 1802 there were in New Jersey, according to a memo- 
rial to Congress adopted in that year, 150 forges, " which, 
at a moderate calculation, would produce twenty tons of bar 
iron each annually, amounting to 3,000 tons." At the same 
time there were in the State seven blast furnaces in operation 
and six that were out of blast; also four rolling and slitting 
mills, " which rolled and slit on an average 200 tons, one-half 
of which were manufactured into nails." Of the forges men- 
tioned about 120 were in Morris, Sussex, and Bergen counties. 

Of the numerous charcoal furnaces which once dotted New 
Jersey not one now remains which uses charcoal, the intro- 
duction of anthracite coal in the smelting of iron ore, which 
took place about 1840, rendering the further production of 
charcoal pig/ iron in New Jersey unprofitable. The last char- 
coal furnace erected in the State was built at Split Rock, in 
Morris county, by the late Andrew B. Cobb, about 1862, but 
it was soon abandoned. Not one of the old bloomaries of 
New Jersey now remains. There were in the State in 1890, 
however, several forges for the manufacture of blooms from 
pig and scrap iron, and also a large number of rolling mills, 
steel works, wire works, pipe works, and anthracite furnaces. 

In 1870 New Jersey was fourth in rank among the iron- 
producing States in the aggregate production of iron and 
steel, but in 1880 it had fallen to the fifth place. In 1890 it 
was tenth in the production of pig iron and seventh in the 
production of steel. 




THE settlers on the Delaware, under the successive admin- 
istrations of the Swedes and Dutch and the Duke of York 
down to 1682, appear to have made no effort to manufacture 
iron in any form. In the Journal of a Voyage to New York 
in 1679 and 1680 by Jasper Dankers and Peter Sluyter, who 
then visited the Swedish and other settlements on the Dela- 
ware, it is expressly stated that iron ore had not been seen by 
them on Tinicum Island or elsewhere in the neighborhood. 
Jasper Dankers says : " As to there being a mine of iron ore 
upon it, I have not seen any upon that island, or elsewhere ; 
and if it were so it is of no great importance, for such mines 
are so common in this country that little account is made of 

Under the more active rule of William Penn, who sailed 
up the Delaware in the ship Welcome in 1682, the manufac- 
ture of iron in Pennsylvania had its beginning. In a letter 
written by Penn to Lord Keeper North in July, 1683, he men- 
tions the existence of " mineral of copper and iron in divers 
places " in Pennsylvania. In his Further Account of the Prov- 
ince of Pennsylvania, written in 1685, speaking of " things that 
we have in prospect for staples of trade," he says : " I might 
add iron, (perhaps copper, too,) for there is much mine, and 
it will be granted us that we want no wood." In a letter to 
James Logan, the secretary of the province, dated London, 
April 21, 1702, he says, under the heading of " Iron Works : " 
" Call on those people for an answer to the heads I gave 
them from Ambrose Crawley. Divers would engage here in 
it as soon as they receive an account, which in a time of war 
would serve the country. Things as to America will come 
under another regulation after a while." To this letter Logan 
replied from Philadelphia, under date of October 1, 1702, as 
follows : " I have spoke to the chief of those concerned in the 
iron mines, but they seem careless, having never had a meet- 


ing since thy departure; their answer is that they have not 
yet found any considerable vein." Smiles, in his Industrial 
Biography, says: "William Penn, the courtier Quaker, ha^ 
iron furnaces at Hawkhurst and other places in Sussex." 
It was, therefore, but natural that he should encourage the 
manufacture of iron in his province, and it was certainly 
through no indifference or neglect of his that this industry 
was not established at an early day. We have referred in 
the preceding chapter to his ownership in 1714 of the cele- 
brated Andover iron-ore mine in New Jersey. 

In 1692 we find the first mention of iron having been 
made in Pennsylvania. It is contained in a metrical compo- 
sition entitled A Short Description of Pennsylvania, by Richard 
Frame, which was printed and sold by William Bradford, in 
Philadelphia, in 1692. Frame says that at "a certain place 
about some forty pound " of iron had then been made. The 
entire reference is as follows : 

A certain place here is, where some begun 
To try some Mettle, and have made it run, 
Wherein was Iron absolutely found, 
At once was known about some Forty Pound. 

It is to be regretted that Frame was not more explicit in 
describing the place where this iron was made. It was possi- 
bly made in a bloomary fire ; probably in a blacksmith's fire. 

In 1698 Gabriel Thomas printed at London An Historical 
and Geographical Account of the Province and Country of Penn- 
sylvania and of West New Jersey in America, in which mention 
is made of the mineral productions of these colonies. Allud- 
ing to Pennsylvania, he says : " There is likewise ironstone or 
ore, lately found, which far exceeds that in England, being 
richer and less drossy. Some preparations have been made 
to carry on an iron work." But neither these preparations 
nor the operations alluded to by Richard Frame appear' to 
have led to practical results certainly not to the erection of 
permanent works. 

Mrs. James, in her Memorial of Thomas Potts, Junior, gives 
an account of the first successful attempt that was made to 
establish iron works in Pennsylvania. This event, which oc- 
curred in 1716, is briefly described in one of Jonathan Dick- 
inson's letters, written in 1717, which we have seen : " This 


last summer one Thomas Rutter, a smith, who lives not far 
from Germantown, hath removed further up in the country, 
and of his own strength hath set upon making iron. Such it 
proves to be, as is highly set by by all the smiths here, who 
say that the best of Sweed's iron doth not exceed it ; and we 
have accounts of others that are going on with iron works." 
Rutter 's enterprise was a bloomary forge, located on Mana- 
tawny creek, in Berks county, about three miles above Potts- 
town. Mrs. James says that the name of this forge was Pool 
forge. There was certainly a Pool forge on the Manatawny 
as early as 1728, in which year it is mentioned in Thomas 
Rutter's will. The name of Rutter's pioneer enterprise may, 
however, have been Manatawny. In the Philadelphia Weekly 
Mercury for November 1, 1720, Thomas Fare, a Welshman, is 
said to have run away from " the forge at Manatawny." Bish- 
op says: "A forge is mentioned in March, 1719-20, at Mana- 
tawny, then in Philadelphia, but now in Berks or Montgom- 
ery, county. It was attacked by the Indians in -1728, but they 
were repulsed with great loss by the workmen." 

Hon. Samuel W. Pennypacker, of Philadelphia, a gentle- 
man of antiquarian tastes, sends us the following letter con- 
cerning Pool forge. 

I very cheerfully respond to your inquiry for information as to the date 
of the erection and the ownership of Pool forge. In 1725 James Lewis, 
Francis Rawle, George Mifflin, and John Leacock presented a petition to 
the Court of Quarter Sessions of Philadelphia asking for a road, in which 
they say : " Whereas, your petitioners having lately built a new fforge on 
Manatawny creek, and wanting a road from Colebrook ffurnace to the said 
new fforge and from thence to the great road that leads to Philadelphia, for 
y e more convenient carrying on y e business of y e said fforge and ffurnace," 
etc. The court thereupon appointed a jury, of which my forefather, Henry 
Pannebecker, was foreman, and consisting of himself and Barnabas Rhodes, 
Thomas Potts, and Anthony Lee, to lay out the road. They reported on 
March 2, 1726, saying: "Pursuant to an order of court hereunto annexed, 
we the subscribers have laid out a road from Colebrookdale ffurnace to Pool 
fforge, and from thence to the great road leading to Philadelphia." 

The old document quoted in the above letter refers to 
Pool forge as " a new forge," which strengthens the theory 
that the name of the pioneer forge was Manatawny. 

Mrs. James says that Rutter was an English Quaker, 
who was a resident of Philadelphia in 1685 and who remov- 
ed in 1714 from Germantown " forty miles up the Schuylkill, 


in order to work the iron mines of the Manatawny region." 
She gives a verbatim copy of the original patent of William 
Penn to Thomas Rutter for 300 acres of land "on Mana- 
tawny creek," dated February 12, 1714-15. 

The following obituary notice in the Pennsylvania Gazette, 
published at Philadelphia, dated March 5 to March 13, 1729- 
-30, ought to be conclusive proof of the priority of Thomas 
Rutter's enterprise : " Philadelphia, March 13. On Sunday 
night last died here Thomas Rutter, Senior, of a short illness. 
He was the first that erected an iron work in Pennsylvania" 
In his will, which we have examined, he is styled a black- 
smith. Many of his descendants have been prominent Penn- 
sylvania ironmasters. Mrs. James says that Dr. Benjamin 
Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was a 
great-grandson of Thomas Rutter. We have verified in the 
Pennsylvania Gazette the obituary notice above quoted. 

The next iron enterprise in Pennsylvania was Coventry 
forge, on French creek, in the northern part of Chester county, 
which was built by Samuel Nutt, also an English Quaker. 
Egle's History of Pennsylvania says that Nutt arrived in the 
province in 1714, and that " he took up land on French creek 
in 1717, and about that time built a forge there. A letter 
written by him in 1720 mentions an intention of erecting 
another forge that fall." We have seen this letter. It is dated 
July 2, 1720, and is written in Friends' language. Nutt pro- 
posed to build the new forge on French creek. Mrs. James 
states that Nutt purchased 800 acres of land at Coventry in 
October, 1718. This was in addition to his earlier purchases. 
He probably made iron at Coventry in that year. Bishop 
refers to a letter written by Dickinson in July, 1718, stating 
that "the expectations from the iron works forty miles up 
the Schuylkill are very great." In April, 1719, Dickinson 
again wrote : " Our iron promises well. What hath been sent 
over to England hath been greatly approved. Our smiths 
work up all they make, and it is as good as the best Swed- 
ish iron." Dickinson probably referred to Nutt's forge as well 
as to Rutter's. The former, as well as the latter, at first made 
bar iron directly from the ore. 

Coventry forge was in operation in 1756. In 1770 it is 
noted on William Scull's map of Pennsylvania. It was in 


active operation after the Revolution, and in 1849 and 1856 
we again find it active, making blooms from pig iron. It 
made its last iron in 1870. The foundations and other parts 
of the old forge may still be seen. It is the oldest iron work 
in the State that is not wholly gnawed away by the tooth of 
time. It has been owned by the Chrisman family for over 
eighty years. 

The next iron enterprise in Pennsylvania was undoubt- 
edly Colebrookdale furnace, which was built about 1720 by a 
company of which Thomas Rutter was the principal member. 
It was located on Ironstone creek, in Colebrookdale township, 
in Berks county, about eight miles north of Pottstown, three- 
fourths of a mile west of Boyertown, and about two hundred 
yards from the* Colebrookdale Railroad. Plenty of cinder 
now marks the exact site. A large flour and saw mill stands 
about one hundred feet distant. This furnace supplied Pool 
forge with pig iron, and in course of time other forges, one of 
which was Pine forge, to be referred to hereafter. The Cole- 
brookdale company appears to have been composed of Thom- 
as Rutter, James Lewis, Anthony Morris, and others, Rutter 
owning at one time a two-thirds' interest, as is shown by his 
will, on file in the office of the register of wills in Philadel- 
phia, which we have examined. 

In 1731, according to Mrs. James, Colebrookdale furnace 
and Pool forge were both owned by companies. In the list of 
owners of both establishments appears the name of Thomas 
Potts, the founder of a family of the same name which has 
ever since been prominent in the manufacture of iron in 
Pennsylvania and in other States. He died at Colebrookdale 
in January, 1752. He was in his day the most successful 
iron manufacturer in Pennsylvania. In his will, dated 1747, 
he leaves his " two-thirds of Colebrookdale furnace and iron 
mines " to his son Thomas, and his " one-third of Pine forge " 
to his son John. 'He was of either English or Welsh lineage. 
In 1733 the furnace was torn down and rebuilt by the com- 
pany, Thomas Potts being the manager. Mrs. James writes 
to us : "I have a large calf -bound folio ledger of nearly 200 
folios of Colebrookdale furnace, marked ' B.' The first date 
is August, 1728, but there are several pages referring to the 
first ledger, one of them in 1726. Mention is constantly made 


of sending ' piggs ' to Pool forge, proving that this forge was 
then in full blast. ' A ' would seem to be a large volume from 
reference to the folios," and therefore to have covered the op- 
erations of a number of years. Mrs. James thinks that it is 
lost. She adds that on the title-page of ledger B the name 
of Thomas Potts is written in connection with the year 1728, 
probably as the manager or lessee of the furnace. He was a 
resident of Manatawny as early as 1725. 

On Nicholas Scull's map of Pennsylvania, published in 
1759, Colebrookdale furnace is noted, and in a list of iron 
works existing in Pennsylvania about 1793, and published by 
Mrs. James, it is again mentioned, although it was not then 
active. We have not found it mentioned at any later period. 
A stove-plate cast at this furnace in 1763 was exhibited at 
the Philadelphia Exhibition of 1876. In 1731 pig iron sold 
at Colebrookdale furnace " in large quantities " at 5 10s. per 
ton, Pennsylvania currency, a pound being equal to $2.66f. 
It would seem that friendly Indians were employed at Cole- 
brookdale, as " Indian John" and " Margalitha" are found in 
the list of workmen about 1728. The furnace was located in 
the heart of one of the richest deposits of magnetic iron ore 
in the United States. After being long neglected this deposit 
was mined a few years ago, but it is again neglected. 

Redmond Conyngham, quoted in Day's Historical Collec- 
tions of Pennsylvania, printed in 1843, says that iron works 
are supposed to have been established in Lancaster county in 
1726 by a person named Kurtz, who is said by another au- 
thority to have been an Amish Mennonite. In Egle's History 
of Pennsylvania it is stated that Kurtz's w r orks were on Octo- 
rara creek, and that it is possible they were in Maryland and 
not in Lancaster county. Conyngham also says that the en- 
terprising family of Grubbs " commenced operations in 1728," 
also in Lancaster county. Both history and tradition are si- 
lent concerning the nature of these alleged " operations " at 
that time. We will refer to the Gr.ubb family again. 

Durham furnace, on Durham creek, about one and a half 
miles above its entrance into the Delaware river in the ex- 
treme northern part of Bucks county, was built in 1727 by 
a company of fourteen persons, of which Anthony Morris, 
William Allen, Joseph Turner, and James Logan (Penn's sec- 


retary) were members. Its first blast took place in the fall of 
1727, and in November of 1728 James Logan shipped three 
tons of Durham pig iron to England. At the Philadelphia 
Exhibition of 1876 the keystone of Durham furnace, bearing 
the date 1727, was an object of interest. It is now in the 
office of Cooper & Hewitt, at Durham. The furnace was be- 
tween 35 and 40 feet square and about 30 feet high. From 
the first this furnace made pig iron to be converted into 
bar iron, although subsequently, as early as 1741, stoves were 
cast at the furnace in large quantities. From a very inter- 
esting pamphlet account of Durham township by Herbert C. 
Bell, assisted by Charles Laubach and B. F. Fackenthal, Jr., 
printed in 1887, we learn that there were three forges on Dur- 
ham creek, all below the furnace, and that many other forges 
in the neighborhood, on both sides of the Delaware, were 
supplied with pig iron from this furnace. 

On Nicholas Scull's map of Pennsylvania (1759) an old 
and a new furnace and a forge at Durham are plainly noted. 
In 1770 two furnaces and two forges are marked in Will- 
iam Scull's map. But there was probably only one furnace. 
As late as 1780 negro slaves were employed at Durham, five 
of whom in that year escaped to the British lines. Much of 
the iron made at Durham was taken to Philadelphia in boats 
fashioned somewhat like an Indian canoe, and first built at 
Durham ; hence the term afterwards in common use, Dur- 
ham boats. Large quantities of shot and shells for the Con- 
tinental army were made at Durham furnace. The furnace 
was in active operation until 1791, with occasional intervals 
of suspension from various causes, when it blew out finally. 
In 1829 it was torn down to make way for a grist mill. In 
1848 and 1851 two new furnaces were built at Durham, to 
use anthracite coal. In 1874 a new and very large furnace 
was built to take the place of the two furnaces just men- 
tioned, which were torn down. 

At least two distinguished Americans of the Revolution- 
ary period were identified with Durham furnace. General 
Daniel Morgan, son of James Morgan, " ironmaster," and one 
of the owners of the furnace before 1773, was born in Dur- 
ham township in 1736. In early life, before entering upon 
his adventurous career, he assisted his father at the fur- 


nace. Tradition says that he was also a charcoal burner at 
Durham. George Taylor, a signer of the Declaration of In- 
dependence, was at one time employed as a "filler" at Dur- 
ham furnace, and subsequently he was the sole lessee of the 
furnace. He was born in Ireland, and came to Pennsylva- 
nia when a young man as a " redemptioner." The Morgan 
family was of Welsh origin. While George Taylor was the 
lessee of Durham furnace he cast stoves bearing the inscrip- 
tion, " Durham Furnace, 1774." A plate of one of these 
stoves, bearing this inscription, is fastened against the walls 
of the post-office at Easton. 

In 1728 James Logan wrote that " there are four furnaces 
in blast in the colony." Colebrookdale and Durham were 
two of these, but the names of the others are in doubt. 

The iron industry of Pennsylvania may be said to have 
been fairly established on a firm foundation at this time. In 
1728-29 the colony exported 274 tons of pig iron to the moth- 
er country. The production of a Pennsylvania furnace at this 
period was about two tons of iron in twenty-four^hours. 

The manufacture of nails in Pennsylvania commenced at 
an early day. In 1731 George Megee, nailer, at the*corner of 
Front and Arch streets, Philadelphia, advertised for sale, at 
wholesale and retail, all sorts of nails of his own manufacture. 

The erection of other forges and furnaces proceeded with 
great rapidity in the Schuylkill valley and in other eastern 
portions of Pennsylvania after Rutter and other pioneers had 
shown the way. McCall's forge, afterwards called Glasgow 
forge, on Manatawny creek, in Montgomery county, a short 
distance above Pottstown and below Pool forge, was built by 
George McCall about 1725. Spring forge, on the Manatawny, 
in Berks county, west of Colebrookdale furnace and about five 
miles north of Douglassville, was built in 1729, probably by 
Anthony Morris. These forges, as well as Pool forge, were 
supplied with iron from Colebrookdale furnace. Green Lane 
forge, on Perkiomen creek, in Montgomery county, twenty 
miles above Norristown, was built in 1733 by Thomas May- 
burry. The workmen once employed here were chiefly ne- 
gro slaves. This forge was supplied with pig iron from Dur- 
ham furnace before 1747. Mount Pleasant furnace, on Perki- 
omen creek, in Berks county, thirteen miles above Pottstown, 


was built by Thomas Potts, Jr., in 1738. A forge of the same 
name was built before 1743. Pine forge, on the Mana tawny, 
in Berks county, about five miles above Pottstown, was built 
about 1740 by Thomas Potts, Jr. Oley forge, on the Mana- 
tawny, in Berks county, was built in 1744 by John Ross, John 
Yoder, and John Lesher, as we learn from Morton L. Mont- 
gomery, of Reading. It was finally abandoned about 1870. 
Spring, Glasgow, Mount Pleasant, and Green Lane forges were 
in operation down to the middle of the present century. Pine 
forge was converted into Pine rolling mill in 1845, and upon 
the site of Glasgow forge there was erected in 1874 a rolling 
mill which is now known as the Glasgow iron works. 

Samuel Nutt built a furnace called Reading, on French 
creek, soon after he built Coventry forge. In this enterprise 
William Branson may have been a partner. Mrs. James says 
that two furnaces of that name were erected about a mile 
from each other, the second after the first was abandoned. 
The second furnace of this name was built on French creek, 
about 1736, by Samuel Nutt and William Branson. In the 
inventory of the estate of Samuel Nutt, which Gilbert Cope, 
of West Chester, has kindly placed in our hands, mention is 
made of " a ring round the shaft at the old furnace," and of 
"one tonn of sow mettle at new furnace." Acrelius, in speak- 
ing of the iron ore on French creek, says : " Its discoverer is 
Mr. Nutt, who afterwards took Mr. Branz into partnership." 
The reference is to William Branson. This event occurred as 
early as March 29, 1728, as their names then appear in the 
Philadelphia Weekly Mercury as partners. Acrelius further 
says : " They both went to England, brought workmen back 
with them, and continued together." Mrs. James says : " The 
15th day of March, 1736, Samuel Nutt and William Branson 
entered into an agreement with John Potts to carry on their 
furnace called Redding, recently built near Coventry, and of 
which they are styled 'joint owners." 1 At a meeting of the 
Provincial Council on January 25, 1737, "a petition of sun- 
dry inhabitants of the county of Lancaster was presented to 
the board and read, setting forth the want of a road from the 
town of Lancaster to Coventry iron works on French creek, 
in Chester county, and praying that proper persons of each of 
the counties may be appointed for laying out the same from 


Lancaster town to the said iron works, one branch of which 
road to goe to the new furnace, called Redding's furnace, now 
erecting on the said creek." On October 7th of the same year 
commissioners were appointed to lay out the road. 

Samuel Nutt died in 1737. In his will, dated September 
25, 1737, he gave one-half of his "right" to Reading fur- 
nace and Coventry forge to his wife and the other half to 
Samuel Nutt, Jr., and his wife. He also made provision for 
the erection by his wife of a new furnace. This furnace was 
commenced in the same year, and was built on the south 
branch of French creek. It was probably finished in 1738. 
In 1740 its management fell into the hands of Robert Grace, 
a friend of Benjamin Franklin, who had recently married 
the widow of Samuel Nutt, Jr. This lady was the grand- 
daughter of Thomas Rutter. The new furnace was called 
Warwick. The celebrated Franklin stove was invented by 
Benjamin Franklin in 1742, and in his autobiography he 
says : " I made a present of the model to Mr. Robert Grace, 
one of my early friends, who, having an iron furnace, found 
the casting of the plates for these stoves a profitable thing, 
as they were growing in demand." Mrs. James has seen one 
of these stoves, with the words "Warwick Furnace" cast on 
the front in letters two inches long. Warwick furnace con- 
tinued in active operation during a part of almost every year 
from its erection in 1738 down to 1867, when its last blast 
came to an end and the famous furnace was abandoned. 
During the Revolution it was very active in casting cannon 
for the Continental army, some of which were buried upon 
the approach of the British in 1777, and have only recently 
been recovered, having lain undisturbed for a hundred years. 
The lower part of the stack of Warwick furnace still remains. 

There is now among the relics in Independence Hall, 
Philadelphia, a cast-iron bell which was cast at Warwick fur- 
nace in 1757 and used at Valley Forge in 1777. It was pre- 
sented to the authorities of Independence Hall in 1875 by 
Colonel J. M. Fegar. It bears the inscription in raised let- 
lers, " P. R. 1757." Mr. J. Wesley Pullman, of Philadelphia, 
has in his possession a highly ornamented stove plate which 
was cast at Warwick furnace in 1764 and bears that inscrip- 
tion. The name of John Potts also appears on the plate. 


After Samuel Nutt's death Reading furnace became the 
property of his partner, William Branson. It is noted on 
Nicholas Scull's map of 1759. Coventry forge finally fell to 
Samuel Nutt's heirs. 

At an uncertain period about 1750 William Branson and 
others established on French creek the Vincent steel works. 
They are thus described by Acrelius : "At French creek, or 
Branz's works, there is a steel furnace, built with a draught 
hole, and called an 'air oven.' In this iron bars are set at 
the distance of an inch apart. Between them are scattered 
horn, coal-dust, ashes, etc. The iron bars are thus covered 
with blisters, and this is called 'blister steel.' It serves as 
the best steel to put upon edge tools. These steel works are 
now said to be out of operation." Vincent forge, with four 
fires and two hammers, was connected wi#i Vincent steel fur- 
nace, but the date of its erection is uncertain. It is noted on 
William Scull's map of 1770. The furnace and forge were 
located about six miles from the mouth of French creek and 
about five* miles distant from Coventry forge, which was far- 
ther up the stream. Before February 15, 1797, a rolling and 
slitting mill had been added to the forge. We do not hear of 
the steel furnace after 1780, nor of the forge after 1800. 

In 1742 William Branson, then owner of Reading furnace, 
bought from John Jenkins a tract of 400 acres of land on 
Conestoga creek, near Churchtown, in Caernarvon township, 
Lancaster county, on. which he soon afterwards erected two 
forges, called Windsor. In a short time, as we are informed 
by James McCaa, " Branson sold out to the English com- 
pany, who were Lynford Lardner, Samuel Flower, and Rich- 
ard Hockley, Esqs., who held it [Windsor] for thirty years, 
when, in 1773, David Jenkins, son of the original proprietor, 
bought the half interest of the company for the sum of 
2,500, and in two years afterwards bought the other half for 
the sum of 2,400, including the negroes and stock used on 
the premises." Robert Jenkins inherited the Windsor forges 
from his father David, and managed them with great success 
for fifty years, dying in 1848. They have since been aban- 

David Jenkins was a member of the Pennsylvania legisla- 
ture in 1784. Robert Jenkins was a member of the legisla- 


ture in 1804 and 1805, and from 1807 to 1811 he was a mem- 
ber of Congress. Mrs. Martha J. Nevin,. of Lancaster, who 
died at her home near that city on January 13, 1890, at the 
age of 85 years, was a daughter of Robert Jenkins. 

Acrelius, narrating events which occurred between 1750 
and 1756, mentions the enterprises of Nutt and Branson as 
follows : " Each has his own furnace Branz at Reading, Nutt 
at Warwick. Each also has his own forges Branz in Wind- 
sor. Nutt supplies four forges besides his own in Chester 
county." Nutt was not living at the time this was written, 
but Acrelius's confounding of ownership is easily understood. 
Nor is it probable that Branson operated Windsor forges in 
1750. In that year he is reported as having then owned a 
furnace for making steel in Philadelphia, and about 1743 it is 
known that he sold .Windsor forges to the English company, 
which was composed of his sons-in-law. William Branson 
was himself an Englishman, who emigrated to Pennsylvania 
about 1708 and became a Philadelphia merchant. He died 
in 1760. 

Continuing up the Schuylkill valley we find in 1751 a 
forge called Mount Joy, at the mouth of East Valley creek, 
on the Chester county side of the creek, one-third of which 
was advertised for sale on the 4th of April of that year by 
Daniel Walker, and the remaining two-thirds on the 26th of 
September of the same year by Stephen Evans and Joseph 
Williams. In Daniel Walker's advertisement it was stated 
that the forge was " not so far distant from three furnaces." 
Pennypacker, in his Annals of Phcenixville and its Vicinity, 
says that the ancestor of the Walker family had come from 
England with William Penn, and " at a very early date had 
erected the small forge on the Valley creek." It is clear, how- 
ever, that in 1751 Daniel Walker owned only one-third of the 
forge, Evans and Williams owning the remainder. In 1757, 
as we learn from Mrs. James, the forge was sold to John 
Potts by the executors of Stephen Evans. In 1773 it was 
owned by Joseph Potts, at which time it continued to be le- 
gally designated as Mount Joy forge, although for some time 
previously it had been popularly known as Valley forge. In 
that year Joseph Potts sold one-half of the forge to Colonel 
William Dewees. The pig iron used at Valley forge was sup- 


plied by Warwick furnace. In September, 1777, the forge was 
burned by the British, and in December of the same year the 
Continental army under Washington was intrenched on the 
Montgomery county side of Valley creek, opposite to Valley 
forge. General Washington's headquarters were established 
at the substantial stone house of Isaac Potts, also on the 
Montgomery county side of Valley creek. This house is still 
standing. Isaac Potts was not, however, at this time an owner 
of Valley forge. 

After the Revolutionary war was ended Isaac and David 
Potts, brothers, erected another forge, on the Montgomery 
county side of Valley creek, and about three-eighths of a 
mile below the old Mount Joy forge. A new dam was built, 
which raised the water partly over the site of the old forge. 
About the same time, and as early as 1786, a slitting mill 
was built on the Chester county side of the stream by the 
same persons. The new forge was called Valley forge. It 
was in ruins in 1816. Other iron enterprises, of a repro- 
ductive character, were established at the town of Valley 
Forge early in the present century, and about 1818 cast steel 
to be used in the manufacture of saws was made here for a 
short time. About 1824 all the iron works at Valley Forge 
were discontinued. 

William Bird was an enterprising Englishman who es- 
tablished several iron enterprises in Berks county before the 
Revolution. A person of this name was a witness of Thomas 
Rutter's will on November 27, 1728, when he appears to have 
been a resident of Amity township, Berks county. In 1740 
or 1741 William Bird built a forge on Hay creek, near its 
entrance into the Schuylkill, where Birdsboro now stands. 
Hopewell furnace, on French creek, in Union township, which 
was in operation in 1883 but is now abandoned, is said by tra- 
dition to have been built by William Bird in 1759, but it may 
have been built by his son, Mark Bird, about 1765. As early 
as 1760 William Bird built Roxborough furnace, in Heidel- 
berg township, the name of which furnace was subsequently 
changed to Berkshire. Dying in 1762 his estate was divided 
between his widow and his six children. Berkshire furnace 
fell to his son, Mark Bird, who sold it in 1764 to John Patton 
and his wife Bridget, who had been the wife of William Bird. 


In 1789 Bridget Patton, again a widow, sold the furnace to 
George Ege, who abandoned it about 1792, in which year he 
built Reading furnace, on Spring creek, in Heidelberg town- 
ship. On the site of Reading furnace two Robesonia fur- 
naces were afterwards built, only one of which is now stand- 
ing. Berkshire furnace manufactured shot and shells for the 
Continental army. Mark Bird built a rolling and slitting 
mill and a nail factory at Birdsboro about the time of the 
Revolution. At Trenton, New Jersey, he manufactured wire. 
He failed in business about 1788. 

Charming forge, on Tulpehocken creek, in Berks county, 
was built in 1749 by John George Nikoll, a hammersmith, 
and Michael Miller. It was at first styled Tulpehocken Eisen 
Hammer. Mr. Montgomery says that it was owned in 1763 
by Henry William Stiegel, and that in 1774 it was purchased 
by George Ege. About 1777 Mr. Ege purchased from Con- 
gress the services of thirty-four Hessian prisoners, for the 
purpose of cutting a channel through a bed of rock to sup- 
ply with water-power a slitting mill which he had previously 
erected. W. & B. F. Taylor, the last owners of the forge, 
inform us that the mill-race here referred to was about 100 
yards long, from 12 to 20 feet deep, and about 20 feet wide, 
and that it was cut through a mass of solid slate rock as 
smoothly as if done with a broad-axe. It was used until 
1887, when the forge was abandoned. In 1889 the forge dam 
was washed away by a freshet. 

George Ege was for almost fifty years one of the most 
prominent ironmasters in Pennsylvania. His possessions in 
Berks county were at one time princely. He died in Decem- 
ber, 1830. He was a native of Holland. 

On William Scull's map of 1770 Moselem forge, on Maid- 
en creek, Berks county, and Gulf forge, on Gulf creek, in Up- 
per Merion township, Montgomery county, are noted. Helm- 
stead, Union, and Pottsgrove were the names of other forges 
existing as early as 1759 in the Schuylkill valley. 

Oley furnace, on Furnace creek, a branch of Mana tawny 
creek, about eleven miles northeast of Reading, was built 
about 1765, probably by Dietrich Welcker, as we learn from 
Mr. Montgomery. It was last in operation in 1886, but was 
abandoned in 1887 and dismantled in 1888. 


There was a forge on Crum creek, about two miles above 
the town of Chester, in Delaware county, which was built by 
John Crosby and Peter Dicks about 1742. Peter Kalm, the 
Swede, in his Travels into North America, written in 1748 and 
1749, thus describes it: "About two English miles behind 
Chester I passed by an iron forge, which was to the right 
hand by the road -side. It belonged to two brothers, as I was 
told. The ore, however, is not clug here, but thirty or forty 
miles from hence, where it is first melted in the oven, and 
then carried to this place. The bellows were made of leather, 
and both they and the hammers and even the hearth [were] 
but small in proportion to ours. All the machines were 
worked by water. The iron was wrought into bars." The 
oven here referred to was a blast furnace, which was prob- 
ably located in the Schuylkill valley, the pigs for the forge 
being boated down the Schuylkill and the Delaware and up 
Crum creek. Acrelius says that the forge was owned at the 
time of his visit by Peter Dicks, and that it had two stacks, 
was worked sluggishly, and had "ruined Crosby's family." 

As early as 1742 John Taylor built a forge on Chester 
creek, in Thornbury township, Delaware county, where Glen 
Mills now stand, which he called Sarum iron works. In 1746 
he added a rolling and slitting mill. These works are said 
to have been carried on with energy by Mr. Taylor until his 
death in 1756. Acrelius, writing about the time of Mr. Tay- 
lor's death, says : " Sarum belongs to Taylor's heirs, has three 
'stacks, and is in full blast." Peter Kalm states that at Chi- 
chester (Marcus Hook) " they build here every year a number 
of small ships for sale, and from an iron work which lies 
higher up in the conn-try they carry iron bars to this place 
and ship them." This iron work was probably Sarum. Tay- 
lor's rolling and slitting mill was the first in Pennsylvania. 

John Taylor was descended from a family of the same 
name in Wiltshire, England, and was a nephew of Jacob Tay- 
lor, who was surveyor-general of Pennsylvania from 1707 to 
1733. His business operations were upon an extensive and 
varied scale, and included the manufacture of nails as well as 
nail rods. The tradition is preserved by his descendants that 
soon after the erection of the slitting mill his storekeeper, in 
making one of his periodical visits to England to replenish 


his stock, surprised the Liverpool merchants by telling them 
that he could buy nails at Taylor's mill at lower prices than 
they quoted, a revelation which added weight to the clamor 
then prevailing in England for the suppression of slitting 
mills and similar iron establishments in America, and which 
agitation resulted in the passage in 1750 of an act of Parlia- 
ment which prohibited the further erection of such^works. 
But, as this act did not prohibit the carrying on of works that 
had already been erected, Taylor's slitting mill was kept in 
operation after his death, first by his son John and afterwards 
by the latter's son-in-law, Colonel Persifor Frazer. During the 
Revolution the superintendence of the estate, including the 
management of the iron works, devolved upon Mrs. Frazer. 
The works were abandoned soon after the war, owing in part 
to the industrial depression which then prevailed. 

In 1750 there was a "plating forge to work with a tilt- 
hammer " in Byberry township, in the northeastern part of 
Philadelphia county, the only one in the province, owned by 
John Hall, but not then in use. In the same year there 
were two steel furnaces in Philadelphia, one of which, Ste- 
phen Paschall's, was built in 1747 and stood on a lot on the 
northwest corner of Eighth and Walnut streets ; the other fur- 
nace was owned by William Branson, and was located near 
where Thomas Penn " first lived, at the upper end of Chest- 
nut street." These furnaces were fcfr the production of blister 
steel. There appear to have been no other steel furnaces in 
the province in 1750. Whitehead Humphreys was in 1770 
the proprietor of a steel furnace on Seventh street, between 
Market and Chestnut streets, in Philadelphia, where he also 
made edge tools. In February, 1775, Uriah Woolman and B. 
Shoemaker, " in Market street, Philadelphia," advertised in 
Dunlap's Pennsylvania Packet " Pennsylvania steel, manufac- 
tured by W. Humphreys, of an excellent quality, and war- 
ranted equal to English, to be sold in blister, faggot, or flat 
bar, suitable for carriage springs." In Watson's Annals it is 
stated that about the year 1790 John Nancarro, a Scotchman, 
" had a furnace underground for converting iron into steel," 
located at the northwest corner of Ninth and Walnut streets, 
Philadelphia. We have already referred to the Vincent steel 
works in Chester county. 




ELIZABETH FURNACE, near Brickersville, on Middle creek, 
a tributary of Conestoga creek, in Lancaster county, was 
built about 1750 by John Huber, a German. It was a small 
furnace, and did not prove to be profitable. In 1757 Huber 
sold it to Henry William Stiegel and his partners, who built a 
new and larger furnace, which was operated until 1775, when, 
through Stiegel's embarrassments, it passed into the hands of 
Daniel Benezet, who leased it to Robert Coleman, who subse- 
quently bought it and eventually became the most prominent 
ironmaster in Pennsylvania at the close of the last century 
and far into the present century. Bishop says that " some of 
the first stoves cast in this country were made by Baron Stie- 
gel, relics of which still remain in the old families of Lancas- 
ter and Lebanon counties." Rev. Joseph Henry Dubbs, of 
Lancaster, says that Stiegel's stoves bore the inscription : 

Baron Stiegel ist der Mann 
Der die Of en machen kann. 

That is, " Baron Stiegel is the man who knows how to make 
stoves." On the furnace erected by Huber the following le- 
gend was inscribed : 

Johann Huber, der erste Deutsche Mann 
Der das Eisenwerk vollfuhren 'kann. 

Freely translated this inscription reads : " John Huber is the 
first German who knows how to make iron." 

In 1885 a cast-iron plate, about two and a half feet square, 
was found doing duty as the hearth of an old-fashioned fire- 
place in Lancaster. It bore on the under side an inscription 
which was not altogether legible, but the words " Stiegle " 
and " Elizabeth," and the date " 1758 " were plainly legible. 
The spelling of the Baron's name on this iron plate differs 
from the usual spelling, but this may have been an error of 
the pattern maker. 


Stiegel's ownership of Charming forge in 1763 has here- 
tofore been mentioned. In that year he sold a half interest 
to Charles and Alexander Stedman, of Philadelphia, and in 
1773 the sheriff sold his remaining interest. Soon after 1760 
he established a glass factory at Manheim, in Lancaster 
county, called the American flint-glass factory, which was in 
operation as late as 1774. He was a native of Germany, ar- 
riving in this country on August 31, 1750, (old style,) in the 
ship Nancy, from Rotterdam. He is buried in the Lutheran 
graveyard near Womelsdorf, in Heidelberg township, Berks 
county. In his last days he taught school in this township. 

After Elizabeth furnace came into the possession of Robert 
Coleman he cast shot and shells and cannon for the Conti- 
nental army, and some of the transactions which occurred be- 
tween him and the Government in settlement of his accounts 
for these supplies are very interesting. On November 16, 
1782, appears the following entry : " By cash, being the value 
of 42 German prisoners of war, at 30 each, 1,260 ; " and on 
June 14, 1783, the following : " By cash, being the value of 28 
German prisoners of war, at 30 each, 840." In a foot-note 
to these credits Robert Coleman certifies "on honour" that 
the above 70 prisoners were all that were ever secured by 
him, one of whom being returned is to be deducted when he 
produces the proper voucher. Rupp, in his history of Lan- 
caster county, mentions that in 1843 he visited one of the 
Hessian mercenaries who was disposed of in this manner at 
the close of the war for the sum of 80, for the term of 
three years, to Captain Jacob Zimmerman of that county. 

Elizabeth furnace continued in operation until 1856, when 
it was abandoned by its owner, Hon. G. Dawson Coleman, 
the grandson of Robert Coleman, for want of wood. 

Among the persons who were employed at Windsor forges 
under the English company w r as James Old, a forgeman. 
About 1765 he built Pool forge, on Conestoga creek, about a 
mile below Windsor forges. Early records mention his own- 
ership of Quitapahilla forge, near Lebanon, and other forges 
in Chester, Lancaster, and Berks counties. In 1773 he was 
a lessee of Reading furnace, on French creek. In 1795 he 
conveyed Pool forge and about 700 acres of land attached 
to it to his son, Davies Old. 


James Old was born in Wales in 1730. He emigrated to 
Pennsylvania previous to September 7, 1754, when his name 
for the first time appears in the register of Bangor church, at 
Churchtown, Lancaster county, as the contributor of ,5 to- 
ward the erection of the church building. Soon after his set- 
tlement at Windsor he married Margaretta Davies, a daugh- 
ter of Gabriel Davies, of Lancaster county. Gabriel Davies is 
supposed to have been the owner of the site on which Pool 
forge was built. James Old died on May 1, 1809, in his 79th 
year, and is buried in the graveyard of Bangor church. He 
was one of the most enterprising and successful of early 
Pennsylvania ironmasters. He had a brother William, .also 
a forgeman, who had been employed at Windsor forges, and 
who is said to have embarked in the manufacture of bar iron 
on his own account. James Old was a member of the Penn- 
sylvania legislature in 1791, 1792, and 1793. 

William Old, a son of James Old, married Elizabeth Stiegel, 
the daughter of Baron Stiegel. She is buried in the same rural 
graveyard which holds the remains of her father. The late 
Mrs. Henry Morris, of Philadelphia, was her granddaughter. 

Robert Coleman was .in his younger days in the service 
of James Old, and while with him at Reading furnace in 1773 
he married his daughter Ann. Soon afterwards he rented 
Salford forge, above Norristown, in Montgomery county, and 
remained there three years. While at this forge he man- 
ufactured chain bars, which were used to span the Delaware 
river for the defense of Philadelphia against the approach of 
the British fleet. From Salford forge he went to Elizabeth 
furnace. He was born near Castle Fin, in Donegal county, 
and not far* from the city of Londonderry, in Ireland, on the 
4th of November, 1748. In 1764, when 16 years old, he left 
Ireland for America. He died at Lancaster in 1825, at which 
place he is buried. He was an officer in the Pennsylvania 
militia during the Revolution, a member of the State con- 
vention which framed the Constitution of 1790, a member of 
the legislature, raised and commanded a troop of cavalry 
during the whisky insurrection, was a Presidential elector-at- 
large in 1792 and a Presidential elector for his Congressional 
district in 1796, and for nearly twenty years was an associate 
judge of Lancaster county. 


Cyrus Jacobs married Margaretta, another daughter of 
James Old, about 1782. At that time Mr. Jacobs was living 
at Churchtown, in the employment of James Old as a clerk 
at Pool forge. He was at Gibraltar forge in Berks county in 
1787 and at Hopewell forge in Lancaster county from 1789 
to 1792. In 1793 he built Spring Grove forge, on Conestoga 
creek, about three miles west of Pool forge, and in 1799 he 
purchased Pool forge from Davies Old. Pool forge was active 
until 1861 or 1862, and Spring Grove for^e until 1866, after 
which years they were respectively abandoned. Cyrus Jacobs 
was born in 1761, and died in 1830 at Whitehall, near Church- 
town. He is buried in the graveyard of Bangor church. 

Cornwall furnace, located within the limits of the now 
celebrated Cornwall ore hills, on Furnace creek, in Lebanon 
county, a few miles south of Lebanon, was built in 1742 by 
Peter Grubb, whose descendants to this day have been prom- 
inent Pennsylvania ironmasters. He was the son of John 
Grubb, a native of Cornwall, in England, who emigrated to 
this country in the preceding century, landing at Grubb 's 
Landing, on the Delaware, near Wilmington, at which lat- 
ter place he is buried. There is evidence that Peter Grubb 
was already an ironmaster before he built Cornwall furnace, 
and a tradition in his family says that in 1735 he built a 
furnace or bloomary, most likely the latter, about five-eighths 
of a mile from the site of Cornwall furnace. He died intes- 
tate about 1754, and his estate, including the Cornwall ore 
hills, descended to his two sons, Curtis and Peter Grubb, who 
were afterwards colonels during the Revolution. 

A few years after the death of Peter Grubb Acrelius wrote 
of Cornwall furnace as follows : " Cornwall, or Grubb's iron 
works, in Lancaster county. The mine is rich and abundant, 
forty feet deep, commencing two feet under the earth's surface. 
The ore is somewhat mixed with sulphur and copper. Peter 
Grubb was its discoverer. Here there is a furnace which 
makes twenty-four tons of iron a week and keeps six forges 
regularly at work two of his own, two belonging to Germans 
in the neighborhood, and two in Maryland. The pig iron is 
carried to the Susquehanna river, thence to Maryland, and 
finally to England. The bar iron is sold mostly in the country 
and in the interior towns ; the remainder in Philadelphia. It 


belongs to the heirs of the Grubb estate, but is now rented to 
Gurrit & Co." This firm was doubtless Garret & Co. 

During the Revolution Cornwall furnace cast cannon and 
shot and shells for the Continental army. It was in opera- 
tion as late as 1882, and is still in good condition. It is the 
oldest charcoal furnace in the United States that is yet stand- 
ing in its entirety. It has always used charcoal. 

In 1785 Robert Coleman purchased a one-sixth interest in 
Cornwall furnace and the ore hills. After that -year, through 
successive purchases from the Grubbs, he obtained four addi- 
tional sixths of the Cornwall property. His total purchases 
of this valuable property remain in the hands of his descend- 
ants at this day. 

Martic forge, on Pequea creek, near the present village of 
Colemanville, in Lancaster county, was built in 1755, and was 
last in operation in 1883. Early in this century cemented, 
or blister, steel was made here. Robert S. Potts, one of the 
last owners of Martic forge, wrote us a few years ago as fol- 
lows : " There used to be a small rolling mill near the forge 
that stopped running some fifty years ago. There was also 
a charcoal furnace called Martic six miles east of the forge, 
but I have been unable to ascertain its history beyond the 
fact that it was owned and operated by the Martic Forge 
Company ; when that was, however, or how long it was in blast, 
I can not learn. The old cinder bank is still visible. During 
the Revolution round iron was drawn under the hammer at 
the forge and bored out for musket barrels at a boring mill, 
in a very retired spot, on a small stream far off from any pub- 
lic road, doubtless with a view to prevent discovery by the en- 
emy. The site is still visible." In 1769 Martic furnace and 
forge were advertised for sale by the sheriff, together with 
3,400 acres of land and other property, " all late the property 
of Thomas Smith, James Wallace, and James Fulton." The 
furnace was in existence about 1793, but was not then active. 

Robert S. Potts, surviving partner of the firm of Davies 
& Potts, which owned Martic forge for many years, died in 
June, 1886. Negro slaves were employed from the beginning 
in hammering iron at this forge, and it is a ourious fact that 
negroes continued to be the principal workmen down to the 
abandonment of active operations in 1883. The forge was 


finally abandoned in 1886. A long row of stone houses was 
occupied by the negro workmen. 

Hopewell forge, on Hammer creek, in Lancaster county, 
about ten miles south of Lebanon, was built by Peter Grubb 
soon after he built Cornwall furnace. Speedwell forge on the 
same stream, near Brick ersville, in Lancaster county, was built 
about 1750, also by Peter Grubb. 

The iron industry of Pennsylvania crossed the Susque- 
hanna at a very early period. Acrelius says that there was 
a bloomary in York county in 1756, owned by Peter Dicks, 
who had but recently discovered "the mine." In Gibson's 
History of York County George R. Prowell, of York, locates 
this bloomary in Jackson township, on a branch of Codorus 
creek, where a forge known as Spring forge was built in 1770 
to take the place of the bloomary. This forge was in opera- 
tion as late as 1850, but was abandoned in that year. Spring 
forge was a famous enterprise in its day, pig iron being sup- 
plied to it from neighboring furnaces. 

"" The researches of Mr. Prowell establish the fact that the 
first blast furnace west of the Susquehanna was built in 1763 
on Furnace creek, in West Manheim township, in the extreme 
southwestern part of York county, by George Ross, a lawyer 
of Lancaster, and Mark Bird, of Philadelphia. It was called 
Mary Ann furnace. The building of the furnace was com- 
menced in 1762. In 1763 the owners petitioned the court of 
York county to open a public road from their 'furnace " late- 
ly built at a great expense " to the road from the Conewago 
settlement to Baltimore, and in 1766 they petitioned the court 
to open a road from their furnace to the Monocacy road at 
Frederick Eichelberger's tavern. The name of the firm which 
owned the furnace was George Ross & Co. A great many 
stoves were cast at this furnace, and during the Revolution 
it cast many shot and shells. It finally went out of blast 
about 1800. George Ross was one of the signers of the Dec- 
laration of Independence. 

In 1765 a forge was erected by William Bennett on the 
south side of Codorus creek, near its junction with the Sus- 
quehanna, in Hellam township, York county. In 1810 the 
property, which had previously been known as Hellam forge, 
was bought by Henry Grubb, and after that date the works 



were known as Codorus forge. In 1836 Mr. Grubb added a 
charcoal furnace, which made pig iron for the forge. Pre- 
vious to this time the forge was supplied with pig iron from 
Cornwall and other neighboring furnaces. Bar iron was ship- 
ped down the Susquehanna to tidewater and thence to Balti- 
more and Philadelphia. James Smith, a signer of the Dec- 
laration, owned these works during the Revolution, and they 
were the cause of his financial ruin. The furnace ceased op- 
erations in 1850. The forge had previously been abandoned. 

Soon after 1762 a furnace and forge were built at Boiling 
Springs, in Cumberland county, forming the nucleus of the 
Carlisle iron works, which afterwards embraced a blast fur- 
nace, a rolling and slitting mill, and a steel furnace. The 
furnace and forge were built by a company composed of Jo- 
seph Morris, John Morris, Samuel Morris, Amos Stuttle, and 
John Armstrong, all of Philadelphia. The site of these en- 
terprises, with some contiguous territory, was purchased from 
John Bigby and Nathan Giles. Michael Ege owned them 
after 1782. On a tax list at Carlisle Robert Thornburg & Co. 
appear as the owners of a forge in 1767 to which 1,200 acres 
of land were attached. We can not locate this forge. Pine 
Grove furnace, in the same county, was built about 1770 by 
Thornburg & Arthur. In 1782 Michael Ege became a part 
owner of the furnace and subsequently sole owner. A forge 
called Laurel, built in 1830, was attached to this furnace. 
Both the furnace and forge are still in operation. Holly fur- 
nace and forge, at Mount Holly Springs, in the same county, 
are said to have been built about 1770 by a Mr. Stevenson. 
The sites of both enterprises are stiM. visible. The forge was 
in existence as late as 1848. The furnace was torn down in 
1855 to give place to a paper mill. It was once owned by 
Michael Ege. 

No other iron works west of the Susquehanna are known 
to have been established previous to the Revolution. 




ALTHOUGH all the iron enterprises that were established 
in Pennsylvania prior to the Revolution have not been men- 
tioned in the preceding pages, those which have been men- 
tioned indicate remarkable activity in the development of the 
iron resources 1)f the province. Pennsylvania was almost the 
last of the thirteen colonies to be occupied by permanent Eng- 
lish settlements, and even after these settlements were made 
a long time elapsed, very strangely, before the erection of iron 
works was successfully undertaken. The manufacture of iron 
was not fairly commenced in Pennsylvania until 1716, but 
after this time it grew rapidly, and in the sixty years which 
intervened before the commencement of hostilities with the 
mother country probably sixty blast furnaces and forges and 
several slitting mills and steel works were built, a rate of 
progress which was not attained by any other colony in the 
same period. 

^ In his History of Netv Sweden Acrelius says : " Pennsyl- 
vania, in regard to its iron works, is the most advanced of all 
the American colonies." Many of these enterprises were up- 
on a scale that would have done credit to a much later pe- 
riod of the American iron industry. Cornwall and Warwick 
furnaces were each 32 feet high, 21 feet square at the base, 
and 11 feet square at the top. Warwick was at first 9 feet 
wide at the boshes, but was afterwards reduced to 7 feet. 
The forges were usually those in which pig iron was refined 
into bar iron "in the Walloon style," as stated by Acrelius. 
There were few ore bloomaries, and nearly all of these were 
built at an early day. Acrelius- mentions only one of this 
class Peter Dicks' bloomary, in York county. The smaller 
furnaces yielded only from 1-J- to 2 tons of pig iron daily, but 
the larger ones yielded from 3 to 4 tons. Reading, Warwick, 
and Cornwall furnaces each made from 25 to 30 tons of iron 
per week. The furnaces were required to produce both pig 


iron and castings, the latter consisting of stoves, pots, kettles, 
andirons, and similar articles. Of the product of the forges 
Acrelius says that " one forge, with three hearths in good con- 
dition and well attended to, is expected to give 2 tons a week." 
The same writer says that " for four months in summer, when 
the heat is most oppressive, all labor is suspended at the 
furnaces and forges." The scarcity of water at this season 
would also have much to do with this suspension, all of the 
works being operated by water-power. 

The German traveler, Schoepf, writing in 1783 of some 
Pennsylvania furnaces and forges, makes the following men- 
tion of Warwick and Reading furnaces : " Warwick furnace, 
19 miles from Reading, near Pottsgrove, makes the most iron, 
often 40 tons a week ; the iron ore lies 10 feet under the sur- 
face. Reading furnace, not far from the former, is at present 
fallen' into decay. Here the smelting would formerly often 
continue from 12 to 18 months at a stretch." 

At first large leather bellows were used exclusively to blow 
both the forges and the furnaces, but afterwards, about the 
time of the Revolution, wooden cylinders, or "tubs," were also 
used. It was not until after the beginning of the present 
century that steam-power was experimentally used to produce 
the blast at either furnaces or forges in Pennsylvania, or in 
any other State. Warwick and Cornwall furnaces, two of 
the be'st furnaces of the last century, retained their long 
leather bellows until the present century. Bishop says that 
Warwick furnace " was blown by long wooden bellows pro- 
pelled by water wheels, and when in blast made 25 or 30 tons 
of iron per week." Reading furnace, a rival of both War- 
wick and Cornwall, was also blown with leather bellows. The 
Cornwall bellows was 20 feet 7 inches long, 5 feet 10 inches 
wide across the breech, and 14 inches wide at the insertion of 
the nozzle. Only one tuyere was used. The fuel used was 
exclusively charcoal, and the blast was always cold. Schoepf 
says that about 400 bushels of charcoal were required to pro- 
duce from the ore a ton of hammered bar iron. He also says 
that mahogany was used to make the moulds for the castings 
at the furnaces, "because it warps and cracks the least." 

The following notice of the workmen employed in making 
iron in Pennsylvania twenty years prior to the Revolution, 


and of the prices of iron at the same period, is taken from 
Acrelius, whose valuable history was printed in 1759, but 
covers the period of his visit from 1750 to 1756. 

The workmen are partly English and partly Irish, with some few Ger- 
mans, though the work is carried on after the English method. The pig- 
iron is smelted into " geese," (" goasar,") and is cast from five to six feet long 
and a half foot broad, for convenience of forging, which is in the Walloon 
style. The pigs are first operated upon by the finers, (smelters.) Then the 
chiffery, or hammer-men, take it back again into their hands, and beat out 
the long bars. The finers are paid 30s. a ton and the hammer-men 23s. 9d. 
per ton ; that is to say, both together, 2 13s. 9d. The laborers are generally 
composed partly of negroes, (slaves,) partly of servants from Germany or 
Ireland bought for a term of years. A good negro is bought for from 30 
to 40 sterling, which is equal to 1,500 or 2,000 of our dollars, koppar mynt. 
Their clothing may amount to 75 dollars, koppar mynt, their food, 325 ditto 
very little, indeed, for the year. The negroes are better treated in Penn- 
sylvania than anywhere else in America. A white servant costs 350 dollars, 
koppar mynt, and his food is estimated at 325 dollars more, of the same 
coinage. For four months, in summer, when the heat is most oppressive, 
all labor is suspended at the furnaces and forges. Pig-iron is sold at the fur- 
naces for from 3 6s. 8d. to 3 10s. per ton. Bar-iron at the forge brings 20 
per ton, or 20s. per 100 pounds. It is sold dear, for six months credit is 
given. Pig-iron is sold in Philadelphia at 5 per ton; bar-iron, in large 
quantities, at from 14 to 16 per ton. It certainly seems remarkable that 
the price is diminished after the long transportation to the city; but in 
this people find their profit. 

The iron-works of Pennsylvania lie mostly within forty miles of Phila- 
delphia. The carriage for such a distance does not exceed twenty shillings 
sterling per ton. As a set-off to this is reckoned the return freight upon 
goods serviceable for the storehouse of the works. 

The sheriff's advertisement for the sale of Martic furnace 
and forge, in 1769, already referred to, and which we give 
below, indicates very correctly the extent and character of 
a representative Pennsylvania iron enterprise before the Rev- 

By virtue of a writ to me directed, will be exposed to sale, by public 
vendue, on the 30th day of January inst., at 10 o'clock in the morning, at 
Martick Furnace, in Lancaster county, the said furnace and forge, together 
with upwards of 3,400 acres of land, thereunto belonging. The improve- 
ments at both furnace and forge are very good, viz. : At the furnace, a good 
dwelling-house, stores, and compting-house, a large coal-house, with eight 
dwelling-houses for the labourers, a good grist-mill, Smith's and Carpenter's 
shops, 6 good log stables, with 4 bays for hay, a number of pot patterns, and 
some flasks for ditto, stove moulds, &c., &c. ; a good mine bank, abounding 
with plenty of ore, so convenient that one team can haul three loads a day ; 
about 15 acres of good watered meadow, and as much adjoining may be 



made: The Forge is about 4 miles distant, now in good order, with four 
fires, two hammers, and very good wooden bellows, a dwelling-house, store, 
and compting-house, with six dwelling-houses for the labourers, two very 
good coal-houses, large enough to contain six months' stock, three stables, 
Smith's and Carpenter's shops, two acres of meadow made, and about 1,500 
cords of wood, cut in the woods at both places ; there is plenty of water at 
said works in the driest season, and they are situated in a plentiful part of 
the country, where they can be supplied with necessaries on the lowest 
terms : And to be sold the same day, a very good plantation, containing 200 
acres of patent land, clear of quitrent, adjoining the lands of Benjamin 
Ashleman, the Widow Haiman, and others, in Conestogo township. Also 
two slaves, one a Mulattoe man, a good forge man, the other a Negro man, 
and three teams of horses, with waggons and gears, &c. All late the prop- 
erty of Thomas Smith, James Wallace, and James Fulton ; seized and taken 
in execution, and to be sold by JAMES WEBB, Sheriff. 

Although the early furnaces and forges of Pennsylvania 
were subject to vicissitudes which sometimes brought them 
under the sheriff's hammer it is nevertheless true that their 
owners were almost feudal lords, to whom their workmen and 
their workmen's families looked for counsel and guidance in 
all the affairs of life as well as for employment ; whose word 
was law ; who often literally owned their black laborers, and 
to whom white " redemptioners " were frequently bound for 
a term of years to pay the cost of their passage across the 
ocean ; who cultivated farms as well as made iron ; who 
controlled the politics and largely maintained the churches 
and schools of their several neighborhoods; who were cap- 
tains and colonels of military organizations ; whose wives and 
daughters were grand ladies in the eyes of the simple peo- 
ple around them ; whose dwellings were usually substantial 
structures, which were well furnished for that day and order- 
ed in a style of liberality and hospitality. The authority ex- 
ercised by these old Pennsylvania ironmasters was indeed ba- 
ronial, but it was also patriarchaLx These pioneers were not 
usually hard taskmasters ; if they paid only low wages they 
frequently made only small profits themselves ; a tie of com- 
mon interest, stronger than exists to-day under similar rela- 
tions, bound master and workmen together. Whether the 
workmen were their own masters or not they were virtually . 
fixtures of the furnace or the forge. The ladies of the " big 
house " disdained not their poorer sisters, but were often their 
teachers, often tneir nurses and physicians, and always knew 


them by name and would recognize and greet them with 
politeness. If daily toil was the common heritage of the 
workmen and their* families it may be said that their wants 
were few and their aspirations were humble. If there were 
bare floors in the little log houses there was food and there 
was warmth within their walls. The state of society *here 
briefly described was not free from the dark spots which vice, 
selfishness, and ignorance give to society every where^/but in 
the main it was kindly, satisfying, and uneventful. The 
years glided on with little change, and there was content on 
every hand. Those "good old colony times," when Pennsylva- 
nia was still a British province, and w r hen George the Second 
or George the Third was king, are gone, and their mediaeval 
flavor, their picturesqueness, and their placidity are also gone. 
The great State makes iron now in a different way. 




AFTER the Revolution the business of manufacturing 
iron received a fresh impulse in the eastern part of Pennsyl- 
vania and was further extended into the interior. Chester, 
Lancaster, and Berks counties shared conspicuously in the 
development at this period of the leading manufacturing 
industry of the State. Many blast furnaces and forges and 
a few rolling and slitting mills were built in these counties 
before 1800, and after the beginning of the present century 
this activity continued. A few of the earliest iron enterprises 
which were established after the Revolution in these and in 
other eastern and central counties will be mentioned, begin- 
ning with the extreme eastern parts of the State. 

The first iron enterprises in the Lehigh valley, which is 
now one of the leading iron districts of the country, do not 
appear to have been undertaken until after the beginning of 
the present century. A bloomary at or near Jacobsburg, in 
Northampton county, is said to have been built in 1805. It 
was in operation as late as 1849. In 1808 William Henry, 
of Nazareth, built a bloomary in Bushkill township, North- 
ampton county, about three miles north of Nazareth, which 
was started in 1809, making its first bar of iron on the 9th of 
March in that year. In 1824 Matthew S. Henry, a son of 
William Henry, built a furnace called Catharine, in Bushkill 
township, about half a mile from his father's bloomary. It 
made its first ton of pig iron on the 10th of May, 1825. 

Hampton furnace, near Shimersville, in Lehigh county, 
was built in 1809 by David Heimbach and two partners 
named Wisselman and Cobelly. Mr. Heimbach soon pur- 
chased the interest of his partners and continued to operate 
the furnace until 1830, after which year it was owned and 
operated by various persons. It was in blast as late as 1857. 
In 1820 David Heimbach and his son David built Claris- 
sa forge, on Aquashicola creek, in Carbon county. In 1827 


David Heimbach the younger built Clarissa furnace at the 
same place, which he operated until his death in 1834. In 
1837 the furnace and forge were both purchased by Joseph 
J. Albright, Samuel P. Templeton, and Jacob Rice, by whom 
their name was changed to the Ashland iron works. In 1841 
the furnace and forge were both swept away by a freshet. 
The furnace was not rebuilt, but the forge was rebuilt, burn- 
ed down, again rebuilt, and finally abandoned about 1860. 
On April 14, 1826, David Heimbach the elder purchased 129 
acres of land on Pocopoco creek, near Weissport, in Carbon 
county, and on this tract he built in 1827 a furnace and 
forge, which he called New Hampton. The name of this 
furnace and forge was changed to Maria in 1836 by William 
Miller, who purchased them in that year. The furnace was 
finally blown out in 1859. All these were charcoal enterprises. 

In 1826 Stephen Balliet and Samuel Helfrick built Le- 
high furnace, on Trout creek, at the foot of the Kittatinny 
mountains, in Heidelberg (now Washington) township, in 
Lehigh county. It was a small furnace, 30 feet high and 7 
feet wide at the boshes. The furnace was operated by this 
firm until the death of Mr. Helfrick in 1830. In 1832 Mr. 
Balliet became its sole owner. He continued to operate the 
furnace until his death in 1854. It has since been abandoned. 
In 1828 Mr. Balliet and Mr. Helfrick built Penn forge, 'in 
East Penn township, Carbon county, which was also jointly 
operated by them until the death of Mr. Helfrick, and sub- 
sequently by Mr. Balliet until his death. In 1837 Mr. Balliet 
built Penn furnace, near the forge. About 1858 this furnace 
was purchased by John Balliet, a son of Stephen Balliet, by 
whom it was owned and operated until 1886, when it was 
abandoned after the death of its owner in that year. It had 
long been called East Penn furnace. It was the last charcoal 
furnace in operation in the Lehigh valley. 

In the collection of the foregoing details concerning the 
enterprises of the Heimbachs and Stephen Balliet and Sam- 
uel Helfrick we have had the assistance of Mr. Hungerford. 

In 1836 a small rolling mill was built at South Easton, 
in Northampton county, by John Stewart and others. This 
was probably the first rolling mill in the Lehigh valley. John 
Stewart died at Easton 'on April 13, 1885, in his 89th year. 


Two charcoal bloomaries were built in Carbon county 
after the beginning of the anthracite era Anthony's, near 
Lehigh Gap, in 1843, and Pine Run, near Lehighton, in 1848. 
A bloomary forge called Analomink was built near Strouds- 
burg, in Monroe county, in 1829. In 1843 Day styled it a 
" large forge." All the forges and ore bloomaries in the Le- 
high valley have been abandoned. All the bloomaries, six in 
number, were supplied with ore from Northern New Jersey. 

The Cheltenham rolling mill, on Tacony creek, in Mont- 
gomery county, one mile below Shoemakertown, was built 
in 1790, probably by James and Maxwell Rowland. In 1849 
and subsequently it was operated by Rowland & Hunt, mak- 
ing boiler plates from blooms. It was abandoned in 1858. 
At first it was used to slit nail rods. The firm of Rowland 
& Hunt was composed of Mrs. Harriet M. Rowland, a widow, 
and Mr. Alfred Hunt, Mrs. Rowland owning the mill. 

Alfred Hunt, who had been the president of the Bethle- 
hem Iron Company from its organization in 1860, died on 
March 27, 1888, at the residence of his brother, Mordecai 
Hunt, at Moorestown, New Jersey. Mr. Hunt was born of 
Quaker parentage, at Brownsville, Pa., on April 5, 1817. He 
was buried at Moorestown on March 31st. 

In 1790 Benjamin Longstreth erected a rolling and slit- 
ting mill at Phoenixville in Chester county, where the found- 
ry now stands. This was the beginning of the present exten- 
sive works of the Phoenix Iron Company. 

Clemens Rentgen, a native of the Palatinate, in Germany, 
emigrated in 1791 from the town of Zweibriicken, in Bava- 
ria, to Kimberton, in Chester county, about six miles from 
Phoenix ville, where he purchased a forge on French creek. 
At Knauertown he unsuccessfully undertook to manufacture 
steel. His forge was continued, and to it he added a small 
rolling mill. His various enterprises were known as the 
Pikeland works, Pikeland being the name of the township 
in which they were situated. 

On November 17, 1796, Mr. Rentgen obtained a patent for 
an invention for "forging bolts or round iron" by a machine 
which he described in the following words : " This machine 
consists of a strong platform, of a given size, in which are 
fixed two upright posts. In these posts is fixed an axle go- 


ing through the handle of a concave hammer or sledge, at 
the extreme end of which is fixed a cog-wheel, whose cogs, 
operating on the lever or handle of the said concave ham- 
mer or sledge, cause it to operate upon a concave anvil upon 
which the iron to be wrought is placed. The concavity of 
this anvil is about one-eighth of the dimensions of that of 
the said hammer or sledge. This machine is set in motion 
by water or any other adequate power, by wheels operating 
upon the said cog-wheel." 

On June 27, 1810, Mr. Rentgen obtained a patent for 
"rolling iron round, for ship bolts and other uses," by the 
following method: "This machine consists of two large iron 
rollers, fixed in a strong frame. Each roller has concavities 
turned in them, meeting each other to form perfect round 
holes, of from half inch to one and three-quarter inches or 
any other size in diameter, through which rollers the iron is 
drawn from the mouth of the furnace with great dispatch, 
and the iron is then manufactured better and more even than 
it is possible to forge it out. The force applied to the end 
of these rollers is like that applied to mills." 

The original patents granted to Mr. Rentgen have been 
shown to us by his descendant, Mr. William H. Wahl, of 
Philadelphia. We learn from this gentleman that Mr. Rent- 
gen made some use of his patent anvil and hammer, and 
that, before obtaining the patent in 1810 for his method 
of rolling round iron, he built an experimental set of rolls, 
which were replaced after the patent was granted by a per- 
manent set, with which he rolled round iron as early as 1812 
or 1813, some of which was for the Navy Department of the 
United States Government. We do not learn that he ever 
rolled bar iron, and it is not claimed that he used puddling 
furnaces. The fact that a patent was granted to him as late 
as June 27, 1810, for a machine to roll iron in round shapes 
would seem to furnish conclusive proof that Cort's rolls had 
not then been introduced into the United States. 

In 1798 there were six furnaces and six forges in Berks 
county ; in 1806 there were eight furnaces, twenty forges, and 
one slitting mill ; and in 1830 there were eleven furnaces and 
twenty-four forges. 

Schuylkill county has had many forges, the earliest of 


which, near Port Clinton, appears to have been built in 1801. 
Before 1806 a small charcoal furnace was built by Reese & 
Thomas at Schuylkill Gap, near Pottsville. About that year 
it was purchased by John Pott, the founder of Pottsville, who 
tore it down and in 1807 erected Greenwood furnace and 
forge. In 1832 there were in operation in Schuylkill county 
Greenwood furnace and forge and Schuylkill, Brunswick, Pine 
Grove, Mahanoy, and Swatara forges. Swatara furnace, six 
miles from Pine Grove, and Stanhope furnace, still nearer to 
Pine. Grove, were built between 1830 and 1840. About 1840 
Jefferson furnace, at Schuylkill Haven, was built. All these 
early enterprises in Schuylkill county have been abandoned. 

In 1805 there were seven forges and one slitting mill in 
Delaware county. Franklin rolling mill, at Chester, in this 
county, was built in 1808. In 1828 there were in Delaware 
county five rolling and slitting mills and several manufacto- 
ries of finished iron products. 

Federal slitting mill, on Buck run, about four miles south 
of Coatesville, in East Fallowfield township, Chester county, 
was built in 1795 by Isaac Pennock. The name of this mill 
was afterwards changed to Rokeby rolling mill. It was used 
/to roll sheet iron and nail plates and to slit the latter into 
nail rods. It continued in operation until 1864, when it was 
burned down and abandoned. During the latter part of its 
history it rolled boiler plates. A paper mill now occupies 
its exact site. About 1810 Mr. Pennock built Brandywine 
rolling mill at Coatesville, which was purchased from him 
about 1816 by Dr. Charles Lukens, who had been employed 
at the Federal slitting mill. It is claimed that the first boiler 
plates made in the United States were rolled at this mill by 
Dr. Lukens. The puddling mill of the Lukens rolling mill 
at Coatesville now occupies the site of the Brandywine mill. 
In 1825, upon the death of Dr. Lukens, who had become the 
owner of the Brandywine mill, the management of the mill 
devolved upon his wife, Rebecca W. Lukens, by whom the 
business was greatly extended and profitably conducted for 
twenty years. After her death the name of the works was 
changed to Lukens rolling mill as a tribute to her memory. 

Mount Hope furnace, located on Big Chiquisalunga creek, 
in Lancaster county, about ten miles south of Lebanon, was 


built in 1785 by Peter Grubb, Jr., and it is still owned by 
members of the Grubb family. Colebrook furnace, on the 
Conewago, in Lebanon county, seven miles southwest of 
Cornwall furnace, was built by Robert Coleman in 1791 and 
abandoned about 1860. Mount Vernon furnace, on the same 
stream, about twenty-three miles west of Lancaster, and in 
Lancaster county, was built in 1808 by Henry Bates Grubb. 
A second furnace of the same name was built near the first 
in 1831. Between the building of the first furnace and the 
second a forge was built. All have been abandoned. Con- 
owingo furnace, on the creek of the same name, and about 
sixteen miles southeast of Lancaster, was built in 1809. About 
1840 steam-power for driving the blast was successfully in- 
troduced by its owner, James M. Hopkins, the boilers being 
placed at the tunnel-head. Soon after the introduction of 
steam at Conowingo furnace it' was successfully applied to 
Cornwall furnace by the manager, Samuel M. Reynolds. 

In 1786 there were seventeen furnaces, forges, and slitting 
mills within a radius of thirty-nine miles of Lancaster. In 
1838 there were 102 furnaces, forges, and rolling mills within 
a radius of fifty-two miles of Lancaster. At this time Lan- 
caster was the great iron centre of Eastern Pennsylvania. 

In 1805 there were two forges in York county, one of which 
was Spring forge and the other was Codorus forge. Castle 
Fin forge, at first called Palmyra forge, on Muddy creek, in 
York county, was built in 1810 by Joseph Webb and rebuilt 
in 1827 by Thomas Burd Coleman, who also added a blister 
steel furnace about 1832. Both have been abandoned. In its 
day Castle Fin forge was a very prominent enterprise. In 
1850 there were five furnaces and three forges in this county. 
Since then its iron industry has sensibly' declined. 

Major Samuel M. Reynolds died in Philadelphia on May 
29, 1888. He was born at Lancaster on April 17, 1814. 
His younger brothers were Admiral William Reynolds, of 
the United States navy ; General John F. Reynolds, who fell 
at Gettysburg on July 1, 1863 ; and General James L. Rey- 
nolds, a lawyer of Lancaster. Samuel M. Reynolds was for 
many years manager of Castle Fin forge and farm, was also 
for several years manager of Cornwall furnace, and was at 
one time part owner of a charcoal furnace in Clarion county. 


He was a paymaster in the United States army during the 
Rebellion. He was buried at Lancaster. 

In 1826 Maria furnace was built in Hamiltonban town- 
ship, Adams county, by James D. Paxton & Co., the firm con- 
sisting of James D. Paxton, Thaddeus Stevens, (the " great 
commoner,") John B. McPherson, and Thomas C. Miller. 
In 1828 the last two members of the firm retired. Hon. Ed- 
ward McPherson, of Gettysburg, writes us as follows concern- 
ing this furnace, which continued to be operated by the re- 
maining members of the original firm : " The Maria furnace 
was worked, in all, about twelve years from 1826 to 1838. 
The first effort was to make stoves ; but the ores produced 
plates which were so often brittle that the business proved 
precarious and unremunerative. The new owners, in an ef- 
fort to make other use of the Maria furnace iron, bought in 
1830 the Caledonia property near Fayetteville, and built a 
forge. They ran this till 1833, when it was burned on the 
night of the 'falling stars.' They promptly rebuilt the forge, 
and in 1837 built the furnace at Caledonia, in evident prep- 
aration for the abandonment of the original works in Adams 
county, which took place in 1838. This transfer was from 
an inferior ore bank to a very superior ore bank, but in nei- 
ther place was money made in amounts worth considering." 
Chestnut Grove furnace, at Idaville, in Adams county, was 
built in 1830 and is still active. 

The first furnace in Franklin county was Mount Pleasant, 
in Path valley, about three miles north of Loudon, which 
was built in 1783 by three brothers, William, Benjamin, and 
George Chambers. A forge was also erected by them about 
the same time. The furnace was abandoned in 1834 and the 
forge in. 1843. A furnace called Richmond, built in 1865, 
now occupies the site of Mount Pleasant furnace. Sound- 
well forge, on Conodoguinet creek, at Roxbury, sixteen miles 
north of Chambersburg, was built in 1798 by Leephar, Crot- 
zer & Co., and was active as late as 1857. Roxbury furnace, 
at or near the same place, was built in 1815 by Samuel Cole, 
and is now abandoned. Carrick forge, four miles from Fan- 
nettsburg, was built in 1800, and was in operation as late 
as 1856. Carrick furnace, which has been idle since 1884, 
was built in 1828 by General Samuel Dunn and Thomas G. 


McCulloh. London furnace and forge were built about 1790 
by Colonel James Chambers and abandoned about 1840. 
Valley forge, near Loudon, in this county, was built in 1804. 
A furnace of the same name was built near the forge at a 
later day. Both have been abandoned. Mont Alto furnace, 
in the same county, was built in 1807 by Daniel and Samuel 
Hughes and is still active. Two forges of the same name, 
about four miles from the furnace, were built in 1809 and 
1810, and were abandoned in 1866. A foundry was built in 
1815, a rolling mill in 1832, and a nail factory in 1835. In 
1850 the nail factory was burned down, and in 1867 the 
rolling mill was abandoned. The foundry and a new steam 
forge close to the furnace are still active. 

Caledonia forge, in Franklin county, on Conococheague 
creek, ten miles southeast of Chambersburg, built in 1830 by 
Stevens & Paxton, and Caledonia furnace, at the same place, 
built in 1837 by the same firm, have already been noticed 
in connection with Adams county. For many years before 
1863 this furnace and forge were owned by Thaddeus Ste- 
vens, in which year they were burned by the Confederates un- 
der General Lee when on their march to Gettysburg. Frank- 
lin furnace, in St. Thomas township, was built by Peter and 
George Housum in 1828, was still running with charcoal in 
1882, and has since been idle. There were a few other pio- 
neer charcoal furnaces and forges in this county. Early in 
the present century nails and edge tools were made in large 
quantities at several establishments at Chambersburg and in 
its vicinity. One of these, the Conococheague rolling mill 
and nail factory, was built by Brown & Watson in 1814. 
Two furnaces called Southampton, not far from Shippens- 
burg, but in Franklin county, were built about 1830 and torn 
down in 1854. A forge near them was torn down in 1849. 

Liberty forge, at Lisburn, on Yellow Breeches creek, in 
Cumberland county, was built in 1790 and abandoned in 
1888. An older forge, long abandoned, is said to have been 
built at Lisburn in 1783. A few other forges in this county 
were built prior to 1800. Cumberland furnace, ten miles 
southwest of Carlisle, on Yellow Breeches creek, is said to 
have been built in 1794 by Michael Ege. It blew out per- 
manently in 1854. Two furnaces, now abandoned, once stood 


near Shippensburg Augusta, built in 1824, and Mary Ann, 
built in 1826. Big Pond furnace, built in 1836, between Au- 
gusta and Mary Ann furnaces, was burned down in 1880. 

About 1806 Jacob M. Haldeman removed from Lancaster 
county to New Cumberland, at the mouth of Yellow Breeches 
creek, on the Susquehanna. He purchased a forge at this 
place and added a rolling and slitting mill, which 'were op- 
erated until about 1826, when they were abandoned. Fair- 
view rolling mill, about a mile from the mouth of Conodo- 
guinet creek, in Cumberland county, and two miles above 
Harrisburg, was built in 1833 by Gabriel Heister and Nor- 
man Callender, of Harrisburg, to roll bar iron. Jared Pratt, 
of Massachusetts, leased it in 1836 and added a nail factory. 

The Haldeman family has been prominent in the manu- 
facture of iron in Pennsylvania during the whole of the 
present century. A sketch of the family is herewith given. 

Jacob Haldeman, the grandfather of Jacob M. Haldeman, was born Oc- 
tober 7, 1722, in the canton of Neufchatel, Switzerland, and died December 
31, 1784, in Rapho township, Lancaster county, Pennsylvania. He was a 
member of the Committee of Public Safety at the breaking out of the Rev- 
olution. John Haldeman, son of Jacob, was born in 1753, and married 
Maria Breneman, and they became the parents of Jacob M. Haldeman, who 
was born in Manheim township, Lancaster county, on March 4, 1781. John 
Haldeman was one of the boldest and most successful business men in the 
State. About 1806, assisted by his father to the extent of some $30,000, 
Jacob M. purchased the water power and forge at the mouth of Yellow 
Breeches creek, Cumberland county, and established himself in the iron 
business. In six years he had paid back the $30,000 borrowed from his 
father. In 1810 he married Elizabeth E. Jacobs, who was born at Mount 
Hope furnace, Lancaster county, on June 13, 1789. In 1830 he removed to 
Harrisburg, where he died on December 15, 1857, aged 76 years, 9 months, 
and 11 days. His wife died at the same place on March 18, 1884, aged 94 
years, 9 months, and 5 days. 

In 1836 Mr. Haldeman owned one-third of the Mary Ann and Augusta 
furnaces, near Carlisle, the Carlisle bank owning the other two-thirds. He 
was one of the incorporators of the Chestnut Hill Iron Ore Company, of 
Columbia, in 1851. Mr. Haldeman's son, Jacob S., was United States Min- 
ister to Sweden in 1862, and another son, Richard, who married a daughter 
of General Simon Cameron, w r as for several years a member of Congress. 

Jacob M. Haldeman's younger brother, Henry, built in 1846, for his 
sons, the late Dr. E. Haldeman and Professor S. S. Haldeman, a blast fur- 
nace at Chickies, to use anthracite coal, now known as " Chickies No. 1," 
and operated by the Chickies* Iron Company. But little of the original 
structure .now remains. Paris Haldeman, president of the Chickies Iron 
Company, is the youngest son of Henry Haldeman. 


Michael Ege, a brother of George Ege, already mention- 
ed, was for many years the most prominent ironmaster in the 
Cumberland valley, owning, a short time before his death, 
Pine Grove furnace, the Carlisle iron works, Holly furnace, 
and Cumberland furnace. He died on August 31, 1815. 

In 1840 there were eight furnaces and eleven forges 
and rolling mills in Franklin county, and six furnaces and 
five forges and rolling mills in Cumberland county. 

In 1785 Henry Fulton established a " nailery " in Dau- 
phin county, probably at Harrisburg. It is said to have been 
" only a little remote from a smithy." In 1805 there were two 
furnaces and two forges in this county. Oakdale forge, at 
Elizabethville, appears to have been built in 1830. Victoria 
furnace, on Clark's creek, was probably built in that year. In 
1832 there were three forges and two furnaces in the county. 
Emeline furnace, at Dauphin, was built about 1835. The 
first furnace at Middletown in this county was built in 1833, 
and the second .furnace was built in 1849 both charcoal fur- 
naces. Manada furnace, at West Hanover, was built in 1837 
by E. B. & C. B. Grubb. The first rolling mill in the county 
was the Harrisburg rolling mill, at Harrisburg, built in 1836. 
The Pennsylvania steel works were commenced in 1865. 

The manufacture of iron had a very early beginning in 
the Susquehanna valley north of Harrisburg. About 1778 a 
bloomary forge was built on Nanticoke creek, near the low- 
er end of Wyoming valley, in Luzerne county, by John and 
Mason F. Alden. Another bloomary forge was built in 1789 
on the Lackawanna river, about two miles above its mouth, 
by Dr. William Hooker Smith and James Sutton. Still an- 
other bloomary forge was built in 1799 or 1800, on Roaring 
brook, at Scranton, then known as Slocum's Hollow, by two 
brothers, Ebenezer and Benjamin Slocum. All these bloom- 
aries continued in operation until about 1828. Their prod- 
ucts were taken down the Susquehanna in Durham boats. 

Lackawanna county owes its present prominence in the 
iron industry mainly to the courage, energy, and business 
sagacity of two brothers, George W. and Selden T. Scranton, 
and their cousin, Joseph H. Scranton, the two brothers com- 
mencing operations in 1840 at Scranton and their cousin 
joining them soon afterwards, their various enterprises cul- 


minating in the organization of the Lackawanna Iron and 
Coal Company. The Lackawanna steel works, at Scranton, 
were completed in 1875, and the Scranton steel works went 
into operation in 1883. 

Esther furnace, about three miles south of Catawissa, on 
East Roaring creek, in Columbia county, was built in 1802 
by Michael Bitter & Son, who " cast many stoves." In 1836 
it was rebuilt by Trago & Thomas. In 1811 Francis Mc- 
Shane established a small cut-nail factory at Will^esbarre 
" and used anthracite coal in smelting the iron." Catawissa 
furnace, near Mainville, in Columbia county, was built in 
1815, and in 1824 a forge was built near the same place. 
The furnace has long been abandoned, and the forge, called 
Mainville forge, which has in late years been employed in 
producing blooms for boiler plates, has also been abandoned. 

A furnace was built in Lycoming county in 1820, four 
miles from Jersey Shore, and named Pine Creek furnace. In 
1832 it was owned by Kirk, Kelton & Co. A forge was added 
to this furnace in 1831. Heshbon forge, on Lycoming creek, 
five miles above its mouth, was built in 1828 and was soon 
followed by other iron enterprises on the same stream. Wash- 
ington furnace, at Lamar, on Fishing creek, in Clinton coun- 
ty, was built in 1810 by John Dunlop, who added a forge in 
1812. He was killed in a mine in 1815. In 1812 Nathan 
Harvey built a forge at Mill Hall, in Clinton county, to which 
a furnace was afterwards added. A furnace at Farrandsville, 
near the mouth of Lick run, in this county, which was built 
about 1834 to use coke, is said to have sunk, in connection 
with a nail mill, foundry, and other enterprises, over half a 
million dollars contributed by Boston capitalists. The fur- 
nace was abandoned a few years after its erection. 

In 1814 Peter Karthaus, a native of Hamburg, in Ger- 
many, but afterwards a merchant of Baltimore, and Rev. 
Frederick W. Geissenhainer, a native of Muhlberg, in Sax- 
ony, built a blast furnace at the mouth of the Little Mo- 
shannon, or Mosquito creek, in the lower end of Clearfield 
county. The firm of Karthaus & Geissenhainer was dissolv- 
ed on December 18, 1818. It had been organized in 1811 
partly to mine and ship to eastern markets the bituminous 
coal of Clearfield county. The furnace was operated with 


partial success with charcoal for several years. We shall re- 
fer to Dr. Geissenhainer in a subsequent chapter. 

The foregoing summary of early iron enterprises in the 
Susquehanna valley could be very much extended by includ- 
ing other charcoal furnaces and forges and several rolling 
mills which were erected about 1820 and subsequently in the 
counties of Lackawanna, Luzerne, Columbia, Montour, Nor- 
thumberland, Union, Snyder, Lycoming, and Clinton, most 
of whic,h have been abandoned, but this is not necessary. 
Our object in this chapter has been simply to preserve the 
names, location, and date of erection of the earliest charcoal 
iron enterprises which were established in Eastern and Cen-. 
tral Pennsylvania outside of the Juniata valley after the 
Revolution. Juniata valley will occupy the next chapter. 

We may properly close this 'chapter by giving some in- 
formation concerning the primitive method of transporting 
ion and other articles by pack-horses from Cumberland and 
Franklin counties to the headwaters of the Ohio river at the 
close of the last century and after the beginning of the pres- 
ent century, when wagon roads were rare in Central and West- 
ern Pennsylvania. The following account is taken from I. D. 
Rupp's History of Cumberland County, published in 1848. 

Sixty or seventy years ago 500 pack-horses had been at one time in 
Carlisle, going thence to Shippensburg, Fort Loudon, and further west- 
ward, loaded with merchandise, also salt, iron, etc. The pack-horses used 
to carry bars of iron on their backs, crooked over and around their bodies ; 
barrels or kegs were hung on each side of these. Colonel Snyder, of Cham- 
bersburg, in a conversation with the writer in August, 1845, said that he 
cleared many a day from $6 to $8 in crooking or bending iron and shoeing 
horses for Western carriers at the time he was carrying on a blacksmith 
shop in the town of Chambersburg. The pack-horses were generally led in 
divisions of 12 or 15 horses, carrying about two hundred-weight each, all 
going single file and being managed by two men, one going before as the 
leader and the other at the tail to see after the safety of the packs. Where 
the bridle road passed along declivities or over hills the path was in some 
places washed out so deep that the packs or burdens came in contact with 
the ground or other impeding obstacles, and were frequently displaced. 
However, as the carriers usually traveled in companies, the packs were soon 
adjusted and no great delay occasioned. The pack-horses were generally 
furnished with bells, which w r ere kept from ringing during the day drive, 
but were let loose at night when the horses were set free and permitted to 
feed and browse. The bells were intended as guides to direct their where- 
abouts in the morning. When wagons were first introduced the carriers 
considered that mode of transportation an invasion of their rights. 


Day, in his Historical Collections, says that " Mercersburg, 
in Franklin county, was in early days an important point for 
trade with Indians and settlers on the Western frontier. It 
was no uncommon event to see there 50 or 100 pack-horses in 
a row, taking on their loads of salt, iron, and other commod- 
ities for the Monongahela country." In 1789 the crank for 
the first saw-mill built in Ohio was carried by pack-horses 
over the mountains to the Youghiogheny river, and thence 
sent by water to its destination on Wolf creek, sixteen miles 
from Marietta. It weighed 180 pounds, and was made in 
New Haven, Connecticut, for the New England Ohio Com- 




As EARLY as 1767 a company called The Juniata Iron 
Company was organized, doubtless by capitalists of Eastern 
Pennsylvania, to search for iron ore in the Juniata valley, 
and probably with the ulterior object of manufacturing iron. 
Joseph Jacobs was the promoter and head of the company. 
It was in existence from 1767 to 1771, during which time its 
agent, Benjamin Jacobs, made for it some surveys and ex- 
plorations and dug a few tons of iron ore, but where these op- 
erations were conducted and who were the members of this 
pioneer company some future antiquarian must discover. 

The first iron enterprise in the Juniata valley was Bedford 
furnace, on Black Log creek, below its junction with Shade 
creek, at Orbisonia, in Huntingdon county, which was soon 
followed by Bedford forge, on Little Aughwick creek, four 
miles southwest of the furnace. The furnace and forge de- 
rived their name from Bedford county, which then embraced 
Huntingdon county, the latter county not having been organ- 
ized until 1787. George Ashman was the leading spirit in 
originating and promoting these enterprises. He was a large 
owner of land at Orbisonia in 1780, and at this time or soon 
afterwards he became interested in the iron-ore deposits which 
had been discovered on his property. On November 8 and 9, 
1786, he entered into an agreement with Charles Ridgely, 
Thomas Cromwell, and Tempest Tucker, all apparently of 
Washington county, Maryland, for the sale to them of " three- 
fourths of two tracts of land, called Bedford and Black Log 
tracts," upon which a saw mill and grist mill had been built, 
retaining the other fourth himself, upon which tracts it was 
agreed that " an iron works " should be built. The erection 
of a furnace appears to have been immediately undertaken. 
Mr. Tucker died in 1788, and was the first man buried at Or- 
bisonia. The company thereafter consisted of Edward Ridge- 
ly, (son of Charles Ridgely,) Thomas Cromwell, and George 


Ashman. The furnace was probably completed in 1788. It 
was certainly in operation before 1790, as on the 2d day of 
March of that year Hugh Needy entered into an agreement 
with the company to deliver twenty-eight ten-gallon kettles 
and seven Dutch ovens, the whole weighing 12 cwt., 3 qrs., 
and 21 Ibs., to Daniel Depue, " on or near the Monongahela 
river, near Devor's Ferry, in eight days ensuing the date 
hereof." These articles were carried on pack-horses. The 
forge appears to have been built in 1791, as is shown by an 
itemized statement of iron made by the company from " the 
time the forge started" in that year until October 12, 1796, 
the product in these six years being 497 tons, 8 cwt., 2 qrs., 
and 26 Ibs. 

For the foregoing details we are indebted to C. R. McCar- 
thy, Esq., of Saltillo, Huntingdon county. The following ad- 
ditional details are gathered from other sources. The furnace 
was of small capacity and constructed partly of wood. When 
it was not engaged in producing castings it made from eight 
to ten tons of pig iron weekly. The forge made horseshoe 
iron, wagon tire, harrow teeth, etc. Stoves as well as other 
articles were cast at the furnace. At the Philadelphia Ex- 
hibition of 1876 a stove-plate cast at this furnace in 1792 
was exhibited. Bar iron made at the forge was bent into the 
shape of the letter U, turned over the backs of horses, and in 
this manner taken by bridle-paths to Pittsburgh. Bar iron 
and castings from Bedford furnace and forge, and from later 
iron works in the Juniata valley, were also taken down the 
Juniata river in arks, many of which descended to Middle- 
town on the Susquehanna, whence the iron was hauled to 
Philadelphia or sent in arks down the Susquehanna to Bal- 

Bedford furnace and forge were abandoned early in the 
present century. Three other charcoal furnaces, all now 
abandoned, have since been built on or near its site. One of 
these was Rockhill furnace, on Black Log creek, three-quar- 
ters of a mile southeast of Orbisonia, built in 1830. It was 
in operation in 1872, but in the following year it gave place 
to two coke furnaces built by the Rockhill Iron and Coal 

Centre furnace, on Spring creek, in Centre county, was the 


second furnace in the Juniata valley. It was built in the 
summer of 1791 by Colonel John Patton and Colonel Samuel 
Miles, both Revolutionary officers. The first forge in Centre 
county was Rock forge, on Spring creek, built in 1793 by 
General Philip Benner. A rolling and slitting mill, nail fac- 
tory, another forge, etc., were soon added. General Benner 
had made iron at old Coventry forge after the Revolution. 
He died at Rock on July 27, 1832, aged 70 years. In 1852 
the extensive works which he had established were aban- 
doned. In 1795 Daniel Turner built Spring Creek forge, and 
Miles, Harris & Miles built Harmony forge, also on Spring 
creek. In 1798 John Dunlop built Belief onte forge, which 
was recently operated by Valentines & Co., and in 1802 he 
built Logan furnace, three miles south of Bellefonte. In 1824 
Valentines & Thomas added a rolling mill to the Bellefonte 
forge. Tussey furnace, in Ferguson township, was built in 
1810 by General William Patton, son of Colonel Patton. In 
1810 Roland Curtiii, a native of Ireland, and father of Gover- 
nor Andrew G. Curtin, in company with Moses Boggs erected 
Eagle forge, on Bald Eagle creek, about five miles from Belle- 
fonte, Boggs remaining a partner only a short time. In 1818 
he built Eagle furnace near Eagle forge. In 1830 a small 
rolling mill was added, for the manufacture of bar iron and 
nails, and about the same year he built Martha furnace, on 
Bald Eagle creek, which has long been abandoned. His other 
works are still in operation and are owned by his children 
and grandchildren. He died in 1850, aged 86 years. In 
1817 Hardman Philips, an enterprising Englishman, erected 
a forge and screw factory at Philipsburg, the latter being one 
of the first of its kind in this country. Cold Stream forge, in 
Rush township ; Hecla furnace, near Hublersburg ; Hannah 
furnace, about ten miles northeast of Tyrone ; and Julian 
furnace, on Bald Eagle creek, all in Centre county, were built 
between 1825 and 1840. In 1829 and 1833 two furnaces were 
built at Howard by Harris, Thomas & Co., to which a roll- 
ing mill was added in 1840. These works have been owned 
and operated by Bernard Lauth, together with a forge which 
was built in 1879, but they are now operated by a new com- 
pany. Both furnaces have been abandoned. 

Barree forge, on the Juniata, in Huntingdon county, was 


built about 1794 by Bartholomew & Dorsey, to convert the 
pig iron of Centre furnace into bar iron. Huntingdon fur- 
nace, on Warrior's Mark run, in Franklin township, was 
built in 1796, but after one or two blasts it was removed 
a mile lower down the stream. The furnace was built for 
Mordecai Massey^nd Judge John Gloninger by George An- 
shutz, who in 1808 became the owner of one-fourth of the 
property. At the same time George Shoenberger bought a 
one-fourth interest. Before 1808 Martin Dubbs had become 
a part owner. A forge called Massey, on Spruce creek, 
connected with Huntingdon furnace, was built about 1800. 
The furnace has been silent since 1870. Tyrone forges, on 
the Juniata, were built by the owners of Huntingdon furnace, 
the first of the forges in 1804. Gordon, in 1832, in his Gazet- 
teer of the State of Pennsylvania, stated that these forges, with 
a rolling and slitting mill and nail factory attached, formed 
" a very extensive establishment," owned by Messrs. Glonin- 
ger, Anshutz & Co. " The mill rolls about 150 tons, 75 of 
which are cut into nails at the works, 50 tons are slit into 
rods and sent to the West, and about 25 tons are sold in 
the adjoining counties." 

Juniata forge, at Petersburg, was built about 1804 by 
Samuel Fahnestock and George Shoenberger, the latter be- 
coming sole owner in 1805. George Shoenberger was born in 
Lancaster county, and during the closing years of the last 
century settled on Shaver's creek, in Huntingdon county, as 
did also his brother Peter. The town of Petersburg was laid 
out in 1795 by Peter Shoenberger. In 1800 Peter sold to his 
brother George the Petersburg tract of land. George Shoen- 
berger died in 1814 or 1815. His only son, Dr. Peter Shoen- 
berger, succeeded to the ownership of his iron enterprises. 

Coleraine forges, on Spruce creek, were built in 1805 and 
1809 by Samuel Marshall. There have been many forges 
on this creek, none of which are now in operation. Union 
furnace, in Morris township, and Pennsylvania furnace, on 
the line dividing Huntingdon from Centre county, were built 
soon after 1810 ; the latter was in operation as late as 1888, 
using coke. About 1818 Reuben Trexler, of Berks county, 
built a bloomary called Mary Ann, in Trough Creek valley, 
and about 1821 he added Paradise furnace. In 1832 John 


Savage, of Philadelphia, built a forge near Paradise furnace, 
which is said to have been the first forge in this country 
"that used the big hammer and iron helve on the English 
plan." There were many other early furnaces and forges in 
Huntingdon county, but the earliest have been mentioned. 

Etna furnace and forge, on the Junfata, in Catharine 
township, Blair county, were built in 1805 by Canan, Stewart 
& Moore. The furnace was the first in Blair county. Cove 
forge, on the Frankstown branch of the Juniata, was built 
between 1808 and 1810 by John Royer, who died at Johns- 
town in 1850, aged about 71 years. Allegheny furnace was 
built in 1811 by Allison & Henderson, and was the second 
furnace in Blair county. In 1835 it was purchased by Elias 
Baker and Roland Diller, both of Lancaster county. The 
next furnace in Blair county was Springfield, built in 1815 
by John Royer and his brother Daniel. Springfield furnace 
and Cove forge were for many years owned and operated by 
John Royer, son of Daniel, but are now idle, the furnace 
having been last in blast in 1885. John Royer was born in 
Franklin county, Pennsylvania, and died at Cove forge on 
November 21, 1885, aged 88 years. The next furnace in this 
county was Rebecca, built in 1817. It was the first furnace 
erected by Dr. Peter Shoenberger, who afterwards became 
the most prominent ironmaster in Pennsylvania. The doctor 
was born at Manheim, Lancaster county, in 1781 ; died at 
Marietta, Lancaster county, on June 18, 1854, aged 73 years ; 
and was buried in Laurel Hill cemetery, Philadelphia. 

Elizabeth furnace, near Antestown, in Blair county, is 
said to have been the first furnace in the country to use gas 
from the tunnel-head for the production of steam. The fur- 
nace was built in 1832, and the improvement was patented 
about 1840 by Martin Bell, the owner of the furnace. 

A furnace and forge were built at Hopewell, in Bedford 
county, about the year 1800, by William Lane, of Lancaster 
county. On Yellow creek, two miles from Hopewell, he 
built Lemnos forge and slitting mill in 1806, which were in 
operation as late as 1833. In 1841 Loy & Patterson built 
Lemnos furnace, on the same creek, two miles' west of Hope- 
well. Bedford forge, on Yellow creek, was built by Swope 
& King in 1812. Elizabeth furnace was built at Woodbury, 


in Bedford county, in 1827, by King, Swope & Co. In 1845 
it was removed to Bloomfield, Blair county, but it is now 
abandoned. In 1840 Bedford county, which then embraced 
Fulton county and a part of Blair county, contained nine 
furnaces and two forges. Hanover furnace and forge, nine 
miles below McConnellsburg, in Fulton county, were known 
as the Hanover iron works. The forge was built in 1822 by 
John Doyle and the furnace in 1827 by John Irvine. Both 
were abandoned about 1850. There are now no iron enter- 
prises in Fulton county. 

The account books of the Hanover iron works from 1831 
to 1833 have recently been discovered. Among the frequent 
charges in them against the workmen is whisky, in quan- 
tities of from one to five gallons, at 33-J cents per gallon. 
Flour is charged at $3.50 per barrel, and boarding at $1.40 
per week ; James Downs is charged with $6, " paid him to git 

Many other charcoal furnaces and forges and a few roll- 
ing mills were built in the upper part of the Juniata valley 
before 1850. In 1832 there were in operation in Hunting- 
don county, which then embraced a part of Blair county, 
eight furnaces, ten forges, and one rolling and slitting mill. 
Each of the furnaces yielded from 1,200 to 1,600 tons of pig 
iron annually. In the same year an imperfect list enumer- 
ated eight furnaces and as many forges in Centre county. 
In 1850 there were in Huntingdon, Centre, Mifflin, and Blair 
counties (the last formed out of Huntingdon and Bedford in 
1846) forty-eight furnaces, forty-two forges, and eight rolling 
mills, nearly all of which were in Huntingdon and Centre 
counties. Most of these enterprises have been abandoned. 

Mr. Hungerford advises us that the earliest information 
obtainable of the erection of any iron works in Mifflin coun- 
ty is found ki the court records of that county for August, 
1795. At a court held in that month a petition was present- 
ed asking for a road " from Freedom forge, thence the near- 
est and best way to the river Juniata near to, or at, McClel- 
land's landing." The forge stood on the present site of 
the Logan iron and steel works, at Logan, on Kishacoquillas 
creek. The landing mentioned was at the mouth of the 
creek, now within the limits of the borough of Lewistown 1 . 


The forge was erected by William Brown and William Ma- 
clay. It was sold in 1812 to Miller, Martin & Co., who be- 
gan the erection of a furnace in that year. On November 
12, 1812, they advertised in the Juniata Gazette for workmen, 
" as they are engaged in building a furnace at Freedom 
forge." This furnace stood where the present Emma furnace 
was built at Logan in 1867, and the power was obtained from 
Hungry run, which enters Kishacoquillas creek at that place. 
Miller, Martin & Co. had many successors. The forge built 
in 1795 was continued until 1878, when it was torn down by 
the Logan Iron and Steel Company. The first furnace was 
torn down about 1820, and upon its site was erected a new 
furnace, which was abandoned about 1830. In 1847 the forge 
property, consisting of 40,000 acres of land, was sold to the 
Freedom Iron Company. It is now owned by the Logan Iron 
and Steel Company. The Standard steel works are also lo- 
cated at this place. In 1832 there were three furnaces and 
one forge in Mifnin county, and in 1850 there were five fur- 
naces and two forges. 

In June, 1797, General William Lewis, of Berks county, 
began the purchase of lands on Brightsfield run and the Ju- 
niata river, in Mifnin county, intending to build a furnace. 
In a mortgage dated June 2, 1798, the furnace tract and ore- 
bank lot are mentioned. In the assessment of 1798 William 
Lewis is assessed on 430 acres of land and a furnace and as 
an ironmaster. The furnace was operated by James Blaine, 
of Cumberland county, a son-in-law, and was known as Hope 
furnace. In 1804 General Lewis built Mount Vernon forge 
on Cocalamus creek, below Millerstown, in Perry county, 
which was operated with the furnace. The forge appears to 
have been abandoned in 1817. In that year the furnace was 
operated by Blaine, Walker & Co., who continued in busi- 
ness for several years. It was subsequently operated by vari- 
ous owners until 1860, when it was abandoned. 

There was a very early forge in Juniata county. It was 
built in 1791 on Licking creek, two miles west of Mifflin- 
town, by Thomas Beale and William Sterrett. It had two 
hammers and was in operation about four years. The pig 
iron for this forge was obtained mainly from Centre furnace, 
but some was brought from Bedford furnace. 


Juniata furnace, three miles from Newport, was built in 
1808 by David Watts, of Carlisle. In 1832 it was owned 
by Captain William Power. A forge called Fio was built on 
Sherman's creek, about four miles from Duncannon, in 1829, 
by Lindley & Speek. A forge was also built at Duncannon 
in the same year by Stephen Duncan and John D. Mahon. 
Duncannon rolling mill was built in 1838 by Fisher, Morgan 
& Co. Montebello furnace, at Duncannon ; Oak Grove, four 
miles from Landisburg ; Caroline, at Baileysburg ; and Perry, 
four miles from Bloomfield, all in Perry county, were built 
between 1830 and 1840. All of the charcoal iron enterprises 
in Perry county have been abandoned. 

Steel (doubtless blister steel) was made at Caledonia, near 
Bedford, for several years before the beginning of this cent- 
ury by William McDermett, who was born near Glasgow, in 
Scotland, and came to this country at the close of the Rev- 
olutionary war. Mr. McDermett's works continued in suc- 
cessful operation for about ten years, when financial reverses 
caused their abandonment. A few years later he removed 
to Spruce creek, in Huntingdon county, and there ended his 
days about 1819. Josephine, one of his daughters, married 
in 1820 David R. 'Porter, then a young ironmaster on Spruce 
creek but afterwards Governor of Pennsylvania. About 1818 
David R. Porter and Edward B. Patton built Sligo forge, 
on Spruce creek. After Mr. McDermett's removal to Spruce 
creek a forge and steel works, called Claubaugh, were built 
on the creek by his nephew, Thomas McDermett, at which 
steel was made by the method that had been in use at Caledo- 
nia. These works became the property of Lloyd, Steel & Co. 
about 1819, by whom they were abandoned in a few years. 

Among the persons who have been prominent in the 
manufacture of iron in the Juniata valley special reference 
may be made, in addition to those already mentioned, to 
Henry S. Spang, John Lyon, Anthony Shorb, Andrew Gregg, 
George Schmucker, and General James Irvin. 

Much of the iron made in the Juniata valley during the 
palmy days of its iron industry was sold at Pittsburgh, first 
in the form of castings, afterwards in both pigs and bars, and 
finally chiefly in the form of blooms. Before the comple- 
tion of the Pennsylvania Canal and the Portage Railroad it 


was transported with great difficulty. Bar iron from Centre 
county was at first carried on the backs of horses to the Clar- 
ion river, and was then floated on boats and arks to Pitts- 
burgh. Pig and bar iron from Huntingdon county were 
hauled over the Frankstown road to Johnstown, and thence 
floated to Pittsburgh by way of the Conemaugh river. Sub- 
sequently blooms were sent to Pittsburgh from Huntingdon 
county by wagon. "Juniata iron" was also largely sold in 
Eastern markets, the Juniata and Susquehanna rivers fur- 
nishing an outlet before the building of the Pennsylvania 
Canal. It was noted throughout the country for its excellence. 
We are indebted to Isaac Craig, Esq., of Allegheny City, 
for a copy of the following advertisement, which appeared in 
a Pittsburgh newspaper in 1813. The advertiser was then 
operating the first rolling mill built at Pittsburgh. 

WAGGONS WANTED. The subscriber wishes to employ from 30 to 50 
waggons, for three or four trips to the ironworks near Belfont, Centre 
county ; and would be anxious to engage 20 or 30 out of the above number 
to haul by the year. A very considerable advance will be made on the 
former rate of carriage. This added to the low price of feed this season 
holds out greater inducements to embark in this business than at any for- 
mer period. Applications to me here ; on which I will give my orders, and 
will engage to pay for any delay which may arise to the waggoners at the 
different forges. C. COWAN. September 9, 1813. 

In 1828, before the Pennsylvania Canal was completed, 
the hauling of blooms by wagon was still an important busi- 
ness. In the Blairsville Eecord for January 31, 1828, Mul- 
hollan & McAnulty advertise for teams to haul blooms from 
Sligo iron works, in Huntingdon county, to. Blairsville, offer- 
ing $15 per ton. After the canal was finished the shipment 
of Juniata blooms to Pittsburgh greatly increased. 

SINCE the preceding chapters were printed we have ob- 
tained additional information from Mr. George R. Prowell 
concerning William Bennett's iron enterprise in Hellam town- 
ship, York county, mentioned on page 184. Mr. Bennett 
built a furnace as well as a forge on Codorus creek about 
1765. The furnace was in operation during the Revolution, 
as is proved by official documents which are still preserved 
at York. Iron ore was probably obtained on the opposite 
side of the Susquehanna river. 




THE earliest mention we have found of the existence of 
iron ore in Western Pennsylvania occurs in the careful in- 
vestigations of Mr. Austin N. Ilungerford into the early his- 
tory of Fayette county. We quote from him the following 
interesting particulars. It will be seen that the facts cited 
antedate the final settlement, on September 23, 1780, of the 
boundary dispute between Pennsylvania and Virginia. 

There is a tradition that the first discovery of iron ore west of the Al- 
legheny mountains was made by John Hayden in the winter of 1789-90. 
This 'statement has been so often made in the writings of Judge Veech and 
others without contradiction that it has come to be almost universally re- 
garded as entirely authentic. That such is not the case, however, and that 
iron ore was known to exist in the valley of the Youghiogheny at least nine 
years before the alleged first discovery by Hayden, is proved by an entry 
found in the First Survey Book of Yohogania county, Va., and made a cent- 
ury ago by Col. William Crawford, then surveyor of the said county. The 
following is a copy of the entry : 

"July 11, 1780. No. 32. State Warrant. Benjamin Johnston produced 
a State Warrant from the Land Office for five hundred acres of land, dated 
the 12th day of May, 1780 No. 4926. Sixty acres thereof he locates on a 
big spring in the Allegany and Laurel Hills, on the waters of the Mononga- 
lia and one hundred and fifty acres of s d Warrant he locates on lands of s d 
Hills, where an old deadening and Sugar Camp was made by Mr. Chr. Har- 
rison, situate on the waters of Yohogania, to include a Bank of Iron Ore." 

Yohogania county, as established by the Virginia Legislature in 1776, 
included all the northern and northeastern part of the present county of 
Fayette. The Survey Book referred to is still in existence in a good state of 
preservation, and in possession of Boyd Crumrine, Esq., of Washington, Pa. 

The precise location of the tract referred to as including the ore bank 
is not known, nor is it material. The quotation is given above merely to 
disprove the long-accepted statement that tlie existence of iron ore west of 
the Alleghenies was unknown prior to 1789. 

The Hon. James Veech, to whom reference is above made, 
published in the Pittsburgh Commercial, on March 29, 1871, 
an account of the discovery of " blue lump " iron ore by 
John Hayden, of Haydentown, in Fayette county, in 1790, 
from which he made in a smith's fire a piece of iron " about 


as big as a harrow-tooth." Taking the sample on horseback 
to Philadelphia he enlisted his relative, John Nicholson, of 
that city, then State Comptroller, in a scheme for building a 
furnace and forge at Haydentown, on George's creek, about 
seven miles south of Uniontown. Mr. Hungerford says that 
a bloomary was built by this firm in 1792 but that it nev- 
er built a furnace. Before the bloomary was built William 
Tumbull and Peter Marmie, with Colonel John Holker as 
a silent partner, all of Philadelphia, built a furnace and a 
forge on Jacob's creek, a mile or two above its entrance into 
the Youghiogheny river. The court records of Fayette coun- 
ty mention " the furnace on Jacob's creek " in June, 1789, but 
it had not then been put in blast. It was first blown in on 
November 1 , 1790, and the iron was tried the same day in the 
forge. The furnace and forge were on the Fayette county 
side of the creek, and were called the Alliance iron works. 
The furnace was fitfully operated until 1802, when it finally 
went out of blast. The stack is still standing but in ruins. 
This was the first furnace west of the Allegheny mountains. 
An extract from a letter written by Major Isaac Craig, deputy 
quartermaster-general and military storekeeper at Fort Pitt, 
to General Knox, dated January 12, 1792, says : "As there is 
no six-pound shot here I have taken the liberty to engage 
four hundred at Turnbull & Marmie's furnace, which is now 
in blast." This shot was required for General Wayne's ex- 
pedition against the Indians in 1792. 

Union furnace, on Dunbar creek, four miles south of 
Connellsville, was built by Isaac Meason in 1790 and was 
put in blast in March, 1791. It was succeeded in 1793 by 
a larger furnace of the same name, built near the same site 
by Isaac Meason, John Gibson, and Moses Dillon. An adver- 
tisement in the Pittsburgh Gazette, dated April 10, 1794, men- 
tions that Meason, Dillon & Co. have for sale " a supply of 
well-assorted castings, which they will sell for cash at the 
reduced price of X35 per ton ($93.33)." There was a forge 
connected with this furnace, called Union forge. Afterwards 
another forge was built by Mr. Meason at the mouth of Dun- 
bar creek. Another of Mr. Meason's enterprises was Mount 
Vernon furnace, on Mountz's creek, eight miles east of its 
mouth, built before July, 1800, and possibly as early as 1795. 


It was rebuilt in 1801. It is still standing, but has long been 
abandoned. Dunbar furnace now stands near the site of the 
original Union furnace. 

Spring Hill furnace, on Ruble's run, in Fayette county, 
within three miles of Cheat river, in West Virginia, and 
near its junction with the Monongahela, was built in 1794 by 
two Welshmen, Benjamin and Robert Jones. This furnace 
was in operation until 1881, but in 1883 it was dismantled. 
About 1797 Old Laurel furnace, on Laurel run, in Dunbar 
township, was built by Joshua Gibson and Samuel Paxson. 
This furnace passed into the possession of Reuben Mochabee 
and Samuel Wurtz before 1800, who added Hampton forge, 
located on Indian creek, half a mile from the Youghiogheny 
river. Both the furnace and forge were kept in operation for 
a number of years. Pine Grove forge, in George's township, 
was built a short time prior to 1798 by Thomas Lewis. 

Prior to 1794 Jeremiah Pears built a forge at Plurnsock, 
in Menallen township, which was the forerunner of a rolling 
and slitting mill built by Mr. Pears at the same place before 
1804. In 1805 the rolling and slitting mill and the remain- 
der of Mr. Pears's property were sold by the sheriff. This 
was probably the first rolling and slitting mill erected west 
of the Alleghenies. In 1815 the Plumsock property passed 
into the hands of Isaac Meason. In 1797 Mr. Pears built Old 
Redstone furnace, in South Union township, Fayette county. 
The dilapidated stack of this furnace is still standing. 

In 1797 John Hayden built Fairfield furnace, on George's 
creek. John and Andrew Oliphant and Nathaniel Breading 
bought an interest in this furnace in 1798, and in a few 
years the Oliphants became its sole owners. Fairchance fur- 
nace, on George's creek, six miles south of Uniontown, was 
built in 1804 by John Hayden. J. & A. Oliphant bought it 
about 1805. It was rebuilt two or three times and kept in 
operation until 1887, when it was abandoned and torn down. 
A new Fairchance furnace was built near the site of the old 
one in 1887. The Oliphants built Sylvan forges, on George's 
creek, below Fairfield and Fairchance furnaces. It is said 
that while the Oliphants operated Fairfield furnace they cast 
a quantity of shot which was used by General Jackson's ar- 
tillery in the battle of New Orleans. .R was shipped down 


the Monongahela, the Ohio, and the Mississippi rivers. The 
furnace was operated by the Oliphants and others for many 
years, but was abandoned before 1850. 

In 1805 there were five furnaces and six forges in Fay- 
ette county. In 1805 a rolling and slitting mill was built 
by John Gibson on the right bank of the Youghiogheny 
river, below Connellsville. In 1811 the county had ten fur- 
naces, one air furnace, eight forges, three rolling and slitting 
mills, one steel furnace, and five trip-hammers. At a later 
date there were twenty furnaces in this county. Fayette 
county was a great iron centre at the close of the last cent- 
ury and far into the present century. For many years Pitts- 
burgh and the Ohio and Mississippi valleys were almost 
entirely supplied by it with all kinds of castings and with 
hammered bar iron. In 1804 a large order for sugar kettles, 
to be used on the sugar plantations of Louisiana, was filled at 
Union furnace. Long before 1850, however, the fires in most 
of the furnaces and forges of Fayette county were suffered 
to die out. In 1849 only four of its furnaces were in blast. 
Other furnaces, to use coke, have since been built within its 
boundaries, and in late years a large rolling mill and Besse- 
mer steel works have been built at Uniontown, but its fame 
as a centre of the iron industry has departed. In its stead 
it now enjoys the reputation of being the centre of produc- 
tion of the famous Connellsville coke. Connellsville, on the 
Youghiogheny, was a shipping point for Fayette county iron. 

The steel furnace above referred to as existing in 1811 was 
at Bridgeport, adjoining Brownsville, was owned by Truman 
& Co., and made good steel. It was known as the Browns- 
ville steel factory. In 1811 Truman & Co. advertised that 
they had for sale " several tons of steel of their own convert- 
ing, which they will sell at the factory for cash, at 12 dollars 
per cwt., and 20 dollars per faggot for Crowley." The latter 
was an English brand. 

The first nail factory west of the Alleghenies was built 
at Brownsville, about 1795, by Jacob Bowman, at which 
wrought nails were made by hand in one shop and cut nails 
were made by machines in another. These machines were 
worked by the foot of the workman, while his hands guided 
the flat and thin bar of iron from which the nails were cut. 


The rolling and slitting mills which were in existence 
in Pennsylvania prior to 1816 neither puddled pig iron nor 
rolled bar iron, but, with the exception of Mr. Rentgen's en- 
terprise, already noted, rolled only sheet iron and nail plates 
from blooms hammered under a tilt-hammer. 

The first rolling mill erected in the United States to pud- 
dle iron and roll iron bars was built by Isaac Meason in 
1816 and 1817 at Plum sock, on Redstone creek, about mid- 
way between Connellsville and Brownsville, in Fayette coun- 
ty, on the site of the rolling and slitting mill built by Jere- 
miah Pears before 1804. Thomas C. Lewis was the chief 
engineer in the erection of the new mill, and George Lewis, 
his brother, was the turner and roller. They were Welsh- 
men. F. H. Oliphant told us in his lifetime that the new 
mill was built "for making bars of all sizes and hoops for 
cutting into nails." He further said that "the iron was re- 
fined by blast and then puddled." Samuel C. Lewis, son of 
the above Thomas C. Lewis, assisted as a boy in rolling the 
first bar of iron. He died at Pittsburgh on Friday, August 
11, 1882, in the 80th year of his age. The mill contained 
two puddling furnaces, one refinery, one heating furnace, and 
one tilt-hammer. Raw coal was used in the puddling and 
heating furnaces and coke in the refinery. The rolls were 
cast at Dunbar furnace, and the lathe for turning the rolls 
was put up at the mill. The mill went into operation on 
September 15, 1817, and was kept in operation for several 
years, the latter part of the time by Arthur Palmer. A flood 
in the Redstone caused the partial destruction of the mill in 
1831. The machinery was subsequently taken to Browns- 

Isaac Meason, who did so much to develop the iron re- 
sources of Fayette county, was a native of Virginia. He 
died in 1819. Prior to his death his son, Colonel Isaac Mea- 
son, was associated with him in the management of his va- 
rious iron enterprises, and after his death he succeeded to 
their entire management. Isaac Meason, Sr., was a member 
of the supreme executive council of Pennsylvania f in 1783, 
and for many years prior to his death he was an associate 
judge of Fayette county. 

A furnace named Mary Ann was erected at an early day 


in Greene county. It was located on Ten-mile creek, opposite 
Clarksville, and about twenty miles from Uniontown. It was 
abandoned early in the present century. An advertisement 
for its sale, by "Samuel Harper, agent for the proprietors," 
dated July 23, 1810, styles it "The Iron Works," late the 
property of Captain James Robinson. It was probably built 
about 1800. Gordon, in his Gazetteer, (1832,) says that " there 
were formerly in operation on Ten-mile creek a forge and 
furnace, but they have been long idle and are falling to de- 
cay." This reference is to Robinson's works. Greene county 
has probably never had any other iron enterprises. 

Westmoreland county speedily followed Fayette county 
in the manufacture of iron. Westmoreland furnace, on Four- 
mile run, near Laughlinstown, in Ligonier valley, was built 
about 1792 by John Probst, who also built a small forge 
about the same time. Neither the furnace nor the forge was 
long in operation, both probably ceasing to make iron before 
1810. On the 1st of August, 1795, George Anshutz, manager 
of Westmoreland furnace, advertised stoves and castings for 
sale. General Arthur St. Clair built Hermitage furnace, on 
Mill creek, two miles northeast of Ligonier, about 1802. It 
was managed for its owner by James Hamilton, and made 
stoves and other castings. It was in blast in 1806. In 1810 
it passed out of the hands of General St. Clair and was idle 
for some time. In 1816 it was started again by O'Hara & 
Scully, under the management of John Henry Hopkins, after- 
wards Protestant Episcopal bishop of Vermont. In October, 
1817, Mr. Hopkins left the furnace, himself a bankrupt, and 
it has never since been in operation. The stack is yet stand- 
ing. General St. Clair died* a very poor man in 1818, aged 
84 years, and was buried at Greensburg. 

Mount Hope furnace, in Donegal township, was built in 
1810 by Trevor & McClurg. Mount Pleasant furnace, on 
Jacob's creek, in Mount Pleasant township, was built about 
1810 by Alexander McClurg, and went out of blast in 1820 
while operated by Mr. Freeman. Mr. McClurg owned it in 
1813. Washington furnace, near Laugh linstown, was built 
about 1809 by Johnston, McClurg & Co. It was abandoned 
in 1826, but rebuilt in 1848 by John Bell & Co. It was in 
blast as late as 1855. Jonathan Maybury & Co. owned Fouu- 


tain furnace, on Camp run, in Donegal township, at the base 
of Laurel hill, before 1812. The firm was dissolved on Au- 
gust 19, 1812, when the furnace fell into the hands of Alex- 
ander McClurg, who operated it in 1813. Kingston forge, 
erected in 1811 on Loyalhanna creek, ten miles east of 
Greensburg, by A. Johnston & Co., went into operation early 
in 1812. Ross furnace, on Tub-mill creek, in Fairfield town- 
ship, was built in 1814 by either Isaac Meason or his son, and 
abandoned about 1850. It made pig iron, stoves, kettles, pots, 
ovens, skillets, etc. Hannah furnace, on Tub-mill creek, in 
Fairfield township, a short distance below Ross furnace, was 
built about 1810 by John Beninger. He also built a small 
forge on the same stream, where the town of Bolivar now 
stands. The furnace and forge both ceased to make iron 
soon after they were built. Baldwin furnace, on Laurel run, 
near Ross furnace, is said to have been built by James Stew- 
art about 1818. It ran but a short time. 

In 1832 there were in operation in Westmoreland county 
only one furnace, (Ross,) operated by Colonel Mathiot, and 
one forge, (Kingston,) operated by Alexander Johnston. The 
latter gentleman, whose name appears above in connection 
with another iron enterprise, was the father of Governor 
William F. Johnston. He was born in Ireland in July, 1773, 
and died in July, 1872, aged 99 years. 

Seven other charcoal furnaces were built in Westmore- 
land county between 1844 and 1855. All the charcoal fur- 
naces in this county have been abandoned. The early fur- 
naces in Westmoreland county, besides supplying local wants, 
shipped castings by boats or arks on the Youghiogheny, the 
Conemaugh, and the Allegheny rivers to Pittsburgh, some of 
which found their way down the Ohio river to Cincinnati 
and Louisville. Subsequently they shipped pig iron by ca- 
nal to Pittsburgh rolling mills. 

Shade furnace, on Shade creek, in Somerset county, was 
built in 1807 or 1808, and was the first iron enterprise in the 
county. It used bog ore, the discovery of which led to its 
erection, although the location was otherwise unfavorable. It 
was built by Gerehart & Reynolds upon lands leased from 
Thomas Vickroy. In November, 1813, Mr. Vickroy advertis- 
ed Shade furnace for sale at " a great bargain." A sale was 


effected in 1819 to Mark Richards, Anthony S. Earl, and 
Benjamin Johns, of New Jersey, composing the firm of Rich- 
ards, Earl & Co., which operated the furnace down to about 
1830. In 1820 they built Shade forge, below the furnace, 
which was operated by William Earl for four or five years, 
and afterwards by John Hammer and others. About 1811 
Joseph Vickroy and Conrad Piper built Mary Ann forge, on 
Stony creek, about five miles below Shade furnace and half 
a mile below the mouth of Shade creek. David Livingston 
was subsequently the owner of the forge, and operated it for 
several years. Richard Geary, the father of Governor John 
W. Geary, was the manager of the forge for about one year, 
and was supercargo of a load of bar iron which was shipped 
from the forge down the Stony creek, the Conemaugh, and 
other streams to Pittsburgh. Pig iron was sometimes packed 
on horseback to this forge from Bedford county, the horses 
taking bar iron from the forge and also salt from the Cone- 
maugh salt works as a return load. 

In the year 1809 or 1810 Peter Kimrnell and Matthias 
Scott built a forge for the manufacture of bar iron on Laurel 
Hill creek, now in Jefferson township, in the western part of 
Somerset county. It ceased operations about 1815. Supplies 
of pig iron were obtained in Bedford and Fayette counties. 
About the year 1810 Robert Philson erected a forge and fur- 
nace on Casselman's river, in Turkeyfoot township. This 
enterprise was a failure. Four other charcoal furnaces were 
afterwards built in Somerset county. All the furnaces and 
forges in this county have long been abandoned. 

The first iron enterprise in Cambria county was a forge 
at Johnstown, built on Stony creek, about 1809, probably 
by John Holliday, a resident of Hollidaysburg. John Buck- 
waiter was the first manager. The dam of this forge was 
washed away about 1811, and subsequently the forge was 
removed to the Conemaugh river, below Johnstown, where 
the schoolhouse on Iron street now stands, in the Millville 
addition to Johnstown, and where it was operated down to 
about 1822, Rahm & Bean, of Pittsburgh, being the lessees at 
this time. It was used to hammer bar iron out of Juniata 
pig iron, and blooms. In 1817 Thomas Burrell, the propri- 
etor, offered wood-cutters " fifty cents per cord for chopping 


two thousand cords of wood at Cambria forge, Johnstown." 
About 200 pounds of nails, valued at $30, were made at 
Johnstown by one establishment in the census year 1810. 
About this time an enterprise was established at Johnstown 
by Robert Pierson, by which nails were cut with a machine 
worked by a treadle, but without heads, which were after- 
wards added by hand. Cambria county has been noted as 
an iron centre since its first furnace, Cambria, was built by 
George S. King, David Stewart, John K. Shryock, and Will- 
iam L. Shryock, in 1841, on Laurel run. It was followed in 
the next six years by five other charcoal furnaces. All these 
furnaces have been abandoned. The extensive works of 
the Cambria Iron Company, at Johnstown, were commenced 
in 1853 by a company of which Mr. King was the origina- 
tor and Dr. Peter Shoenberger was a member. They were 
built expressly to roll rails, the Pennsylvania Railroad, pass- 
ing through Johnstown, having been completed from Phila- 
delphia to Pittsburgh in the preceding year, and furnishing 
a local incentive to their erection as well as a convenient 
means of communication with other sections of the country 
in need of rails. Dr. Shoenberger had previously become a 
half owner of Cambria furnace and a part owner of several 
other furnaces and of large tracts of land near Johnstown. 
In 1832 Gordon referred to the prospect of making iron 
from native ore in Cambria county as follows : " And there 
is iron, as it is said by some, but denied by others." Mr. 
King tested at Ross furnace in 1839 or 1840 the ore which 
he had found in the hills near Laurel run. 

The first iron enterprise in Indiana county was Indiana 
forge, on Finley's run, near the Conemaugh, built about 1837 
by Henry and John Noble, who also built a small furnace 
as early as 1840. The forge was operated by water-power 
but the furnace by steam-power. Both enterprises were run- 
ning in the last-named year. Pig iron for the forge was at 
first obtained from Allegheny furnace, now in Blair county. 
Some iron ore for the furnace was obtained from the Alle- 
gheny furnace mines. About 1837 John Noble owned a farm 
of about 200 acres in the heart of the present city of Altoo- 
na, which he sold to David Robinson, of Pleasant valley, for 
$4,500, taking in payment the contents of Mr. Robinson's 


country store, which he removed to Finley's run and added 
to the capital stock of the firm of Henry and John Noble. 
The Altoona farm is now worth many millions of dollars. 
About 1846 the Indiana property passed into the hands of 
Elias Baker, who built a new furnace and forge. Three other 
charcoal furnaces were built in Indiana county in 1846 and 
1847. All its furnaces and its solitary forge have long been 

A blast furnace was built at Beaver Falls, on the west 
side of Beaver river, in Beaver county, in 1802, by Hoopes, 
Townsend & Co., and blown in in 1804. A forge was con- 
nected with it from the beginning, and was in operation in 
1806. The furnace and forge were both in operation in 1816. 
The whole enterprise was abandoned about 1826. The ore 
used was picked out of gravel banks in the neighborhood 
in very small lumps. There was another early furnace in 
Beaver county, named Bassenheim, built in 1814 by Detmar 
Basse Miiller, on Connoquenessing creek, about a mile west 
of the Butler county line. In February, 1818, $12 per ton 
were paid for hauling the pig iron made at this furnace to 
Pittsburgh, thirty miles distant, over a bad road. The fur- 
nace was abandoned at an early day. John Henry Hop- 
kins, previously mentioned in connection with General St. 
Glair's furnace near Ligonier, was engaged about 1815 as a 
clerk at Bassenheim furnace. 

Prior to 1846 there were a few furnaces in the Shenango 
valley, all charcoal, one of which was Springfield furnace, 
half a mile from Leesburg and seven miles southeast of 
Mercer, built in 1837 and active in 1849, while another was 
Temperance furnace, about six miles east of Greenville, built 
by J. Green Butler about 1840. Day, in 1843, says : " Two 
furnaces were wrought formerly, but have since been aban- 
doned." In 1806 the geographer Joseph Scott says that "a 
forge and furnace are now nearly erected" at New Castle. 
About 1810 there was a forge on Neshannock creek, " mid- 
way between Pearson's flour mill and Harvey's paper mill," 
for the manufacture of bar iron from the ore. The first 
rolling mill in Lawrence county was built in 1839 at New 
Castle by James D. White, of that place, with the assistance 
of Shubal Wilder, of Massachusetts, Joseph H. Brown, and 


other practical ironworkers. It made cut nails and bar iron. 
At first only Juniata blooms were used, as the mill did not 
contain any puddling furnaces. In 1841, after- the death of 
Mr. White, Messrs. A. L. and J. M. Crawford and George K. 
Bitter, all of Montgomery county, Pennsylvania, bought the 
mill property, and, with the practical men above mentioned, 
organized the firm of J. M. Crawford & Co., which enlarged 
the mill and continued to make bar iron and nails. In 1850 
the Cosalo Iron Company was organized, with A. L. Crawford 
as president and Mr. Wilder as superintendent. In 1853 a 
new and larger mill was built. In 1846 and afterwards sev- 
eral furnaces were built in this valley to use its block coal 
and also charcoal, and several rolling mills were also built. 

Alexander L. Crawford died at New Castle on April 1, 
1890, aged about 76 years. He was for fifty years one of 
the country's most prominent iron manufacturers. He was 
also prominent in the building of railroads and in the de- 
velopment of our coal mines, his various enterprises extend- 
ing to many States. Shubal Wilder died suddenly at Mid- 
dleboro, Massachusetts, in May, 1888, aged about 79 years. 

The first furnace in the once important but now nearly 
neglected ironmaking district composed of Armstrong, But- 
ler, Clarion, Venango, and other northwestern counties was 
Bear Creek, in Armstrong county, which was commenced in 
1818 by William Stackpole and Ruggles Whiting, who then 
owned the Pittsburgh rolling mill. In 1819, owing to the 
failure of this firm, the furnace passed uncompleted into the 
hands of Baldwin, Robinson, McNickle & Beltzhoover, of 
Pittsburgh. It went into operation in that year. It was 
built to use coke, with steam-power, and its first blast was 
with this fuel, but the blast was too weak and the furnace 
chilled after two or three tons of iron had been made. Char- 
coal was then substituted. The furnace was abandoned long 
before 1850, but it was running in 1832, in which year Gor- 
don says that it was owned by Henry Baldwin, Esq., and 
was reputed to be the largest furnace in the United States, 
having made forty tons of iron in a week. This furnace 
had a tram-road, with wooden rails, in 1818. 

Slippery Rock furnace, in Butler county, and Clarion fur- 
nace, in Clarion county, were built in 1828, the latter by 


Christian Myers, of Lancaster county, who built another 
furnace about 1844, which he called Polk. Allegheny furnace, 
at Kittanning, in Armstrong county, and Venango furnace, 
on Oil creek, in Venango county, were built in 1830. From 
1830 to 1850 this section of the State produced large quanti- 
ties of charcoal pig iron. In 1850 there were eleven furnaces 
in Armstrong county, six in Butler, twenty-eight in Clarion, 
and eighteen in Venango : sixty-three in all. In 1858 there 
were eighteen in Armstrong, six in Butler, twenty-seven in 
Clarion, and twenty-four in Venango : seventy-five in all. 
All these were charcoal furnaces, except four coke furnaces 
at Brady's Bend. Many of these furnaces had, however, been 
abandoned at the latter date, and every one has since been 
abandoned. Most of these furnaces were built to supply the 
Pittsburgh rolling mills with pig iron. 

The Great Western iron works at Brady's Bend, embrac- 
ing four furnaces to use coke and a rolling mill, were com- 
menced by Philander Raymond and others in 1840. The 
furnaces were finally blown out in 1873 and the rolling mill 
was abandoned in the same year. It was built in 1841 to 
roll bar iron, but it afterwards rolled iron rails, which were 
at first mere flat bars, with holes for spikes countersunk in 
the upper surface. The mill continued to make rails until 
after the close of the civil war. In 1849 the original Great 
Western Iron Company failed, and upon its reorganization 
the name was changed to the Brady's Bend Iron Company. 
There was a large amount of Boston capital at one time in- 
vested in these works. 

Erie charcoal furnace, at Erie, was built in 1842 and aban- 
doned in 1849. It used bog ore. It was owned by Charles 
M. Reed. Liberty furnace, on the north side of French 
creek, in Crawford county, was built in 1842 by Lowry & 
Co., of Meadville, and abandoned in 1849. 

The iron manufactured in the Allegheny valley was tak- 
en down the Allegheny river to Pittsburgh on keel-boats and 
arks, the business of transporting it in this primitive man- 
ner being quite extensive down to about 1850. 




THE beginning of the iron industry at Pittsburgh was 
made at a comparatively recent period. George Anshutz, the 
pioneer in the manufacture of iron at Pittsburgh, was an Al- 
sacian by birth, Alsace at the time being under the control 
of France. He was born near Strasburg, on November 28, 
1753. In 1789 he emigrated to the United States, and soon 
afterwards located at a suburb of Pittsburgh now known as 
Shady Side, where he built a small furnace on Two-mile run, 
probably completing it in 1792. In 1794 it was abandoned 
for want of ore. It had been expected that ore could be ob- 
tained in the vicinity, but this expectation was not realized, 
and the expense entailed in bringing ore from other localities 
was too great. The enterprise seems to have been largely de- 
voted to the casting of stoves and grates. The ruins of the 
furnace were visible until about 1850. After the abandon- 
ment of his furnace Mr. Anshutz accepted the management 
of John Probst's Westmoreland furnace, near Laughlinstown, 
and remained there about one year, whence he removed to 
Huntingdon county, where, in connection with Judge John 
Gloninger and Mordecai Massey, he built Huntingdon fur- 
nace in 1796, as has already been stated in a preceding 
chapter. He died at Pittsburgh on February 28, 1837, aged 
83 years and 3 months. Many of his descendants reside in 
Pittsburgh and its vicinity. 

We have received from Mr. George A. Berry, president of 
the Citizens' National Bank, of Pittsburgh, and a grandson of 
George Anshutz, the following interesting reminiscences of 
Mr. Anshutz's pioneer iron enterprise at Shady Side. His 
letter containing these reminiscences is dated at Pittsburgh, 
May 8, 1891. We give his statement in its entirety. 

I am now on the verge of entering my 74th year, and I have a very 
clear recollection of things fifty and even sixty years ago. I often heard 
my grandfather speak of the furnace, as well as my uncles and aunts, all 


brothers and sisters of my mother, some of whom have lived to within the 
last fifteen years. Mrs. Rahm, my mother's oldest sister, who was born on 
February 17, 1788, and died on July 31, 1878, was four years old when the 
fur^ce was built. She had a very clear -recollection of it and told me many 
circumstances connected with it. I have a family Bible which has been 
in our family for over seventy years and in which my mother's birth, on 
December 27, 1793, is recorded, and I had it from her as well as from all 
the family that she was born at the furnace referred to above. 

In my younger days I heard many of the older residents of the east 
end of the city speak of seeing the old stack. Major William B. Negley, 
one of our oldest and best-known citizens, told me to-day that, when he 
first built on the site now occupied by the mansion of M. K. Moorhead, 
Esq., he took down part of the old stack, and going through the cinder 
pile found several relics of the business, such as a shovel, pick, etc. John 
A. Kenshaw, Esq., who also built on part of the property, told me he 
could locate the spot occupied by the furnace as well as the tail-race which 
carried the water from the furnace. On several occasions I talked with the 
late William M. Lyon on this subject. He mentioned several things in 
connection with the furnace, among others that after my grandfather 
abandoned it it was used by Anthony Beelen as a foundry. The family 
of the late Jonas Roup had in use until a recent period pots, skillets, etc., 
made at the furnace. 

The late Judge James Veech was considered authority on all matters 
of the olden time. He came here from Fayette county, and I think wrote 
a history of the county. In a long newspaper article now before me, in 
which he endeavors to establish the fact that the first blast furnace west 
of the Allegheny mountains was built in Fayette and not in Allegheny 
county, he says, speaking of my grandfather's furnace : " My researches 
on the subject put the abortive enterprise at least two years later." [That 
is, 1792 instead of 1790.] "The facts on this subject which I am about 
to state are made out mostly from records consulted and from original 
papers." He thus admits the existence of the furnace but is a little doubt- 
ful of dates. Of course if the furnace was built, of which there is no 
doubt, it was put in blast, but for how long I have no positive knowl- 
edge. However this may be I always heard that ore was not found in 
sufficient quantity in thfe neighborhood of the furnace, and that the sup- 
ply for awhile was brought down the Allegheny river, but this being too 
expensive the enterprise was abandoned. 

My grandfather next turns up at Westmoreland furnace, as will be seen 
from an advertisement in the Pittsburgh Gazette, as follows : " Westmoreland 
Furnace. For sale at said furnace, about 3 miles from Fort Ligonier, near 
the State Road, stoves and a fine assortment of the best castings, at the 
most reasonable prices. GEO. ANSHUTZ, Manager. August 7th, 1795." 

I think that the above information will satisfy you that George An- 
shutz built the first furnace that was built in Allegheny county, and that it 
was in operation about the years 1792 to 1794. GEO. ANSHUTZ BERRY. 

The first iron foundry at Pittsburgh was established about 
1805 by Joseph McClurg on the site of the present post-office 
and the city hall, on the northeast corner of Smithfield street 


and Fifth avenue. Rev. A. A. Lambing says that Joseph 
Smith and John Gormly were associated with Mr. McClurg 
in this enterprise. They retired, however, before 1807. jj^Tr. 
McClurg subsequently took his son "Alexander into partner- 
ship. The enterprise was styled the Pittsburgh foundry. 
Isaac Craig, Esq., informs us that on February 12, 1806, 
Joseph McClurg advertised in the Commonwealth that "the 
Pittsburgh Foundry is now complete." In 1812 it was con- 
verted by Mr. McClurg into a cannon foundry and supplied 
the General Government, with cannon, howitzers, shells, and 
balls. Commodore Perry's fleet on Lake Erie and General 
Jackson's army at New Orleans received their supplies of 
these articles in part from this foundry. 

According to Cramer's Pittsburgh Almanack there were 
three nail factories at Pittsburgh in 1807 Porter's, Stur- 
geon's, and Stewart's, " which make about 40 tons of nails 
yearly." In 1810 about 200 tons of cut and wrought nails 
were made at Pittsburgh. In 1813 there were two iron 
foundries in this city, McClurg's and Anthony Beelen's, and 
one steel furnace, owned by Tuper & McCowan. In the fol- 
lowing year there were two additional foundries. Mr. Bee- 
len's foundry was put in operation in November, 1810. 

The condition of the iron industry at Pittsburgh in 1810 
is thus summed up by a writer in The Navigator for 1811 : 
" The manufacture of ironmongery has increased in this 
place beyond all calculation. Cut and wrought nails of all 
sizes are made in vast quantities, about, we think, 200 tons 
per year. Fire shovels, tongs, drawing-knives, hatchets, two 
feet squares, augers, chissels, adzes, axes, claw hammers, door 
hinges, chains, hackles, locks, door handles, spinning-wheel 
irons, plough irons, flat-irons, &c., tons of these, together with 
a number of other articles in the iron way, are exported 
annually. Abner Updegraff attempted the making of files, 
which he finds he can do to advantage. He also makes 
gimblets, and by way of experiment made a neat penknife, 
which he says could be made here as cheap as those import- 
ed." The making of screws for butt hinges is also noted. 

A rolling mill was built at Pittsburgh in 1811 and 1812 
by Christopher Cowan, a Scotch-Irishman, and called the 
Pittsburgh rolling mill. This mill had no puddling furnaces. 


Cramer's Pittsburgh Almanack for 1813 says of this enterprise : 
" C. Cowan is erecting a most powerful steam engine to re- 
duce iron to various purposes. It is calculated for a seventy 
horse poiver, which [will] put into complete operation a Roll- 
ing-mill^ a Slitting-mitt, and a Tilt-hammer, all under the same 
roof. With these Mr. Cowan will be enabled to furnish sheet- 
iron, nail and spike rods, shovels and tongs, spades, scythes, 
sickles, hoes, axes, frying-pans, cutting-knives. In addition 
to Mr. Cowan's already extensive nail business he makes a 
great supply of chains, plough irons, shingling hatchets, clew 
hammers, chissels, screw augers, spinning wheel irons, and 
smiths' vices of superior quality." This rolling mill stood 
at the intersection of Penn street and Cecil's alley, where the 
fourth ward school-house now stands. In 1816 it was owned 
by William Stackpole and Ruggles Whiting, of Boston, who 
failed in 1819, and who seem to have made nails chiefly by 
nail-cutting machines which both cut and headed the nails. 
In 1826 it was operated by R. Bowen. 

In the Pittsburgh Almanack for 1819 the following account 
is given of an ambitious manufacturing establishment in 
Pittsburgh " within the year 1818 : " " Rolling and Slitting 
Mill. A very extensive establishment under the superintend- 
ence of Joshua Malen, formerly of Valley Forge, and whose 
talents will be an important acquisition to this section of the 
Union, has been made by the 'Pittsburgh Steam Engine Co.' 
.Wm. Robinson, jr. & Joshua Malen. At their rolling mill, 
which has two engines, each of 120 horse power, will be man- 
ufactured Bar, Boiled, and Sheet Iron." Our extracts from, the 
Almanack are taken from its pages verbatim. We can not 
locate the above enterprise. 

The Union rolling mill was the next mill built at Pitts- 
burgh. It was located on the Monongahela river, was built 
in 1819, and was accidentally blown up and permanently dis- 
mantled in 1829, the machinery being taken to Covington, 
Kentucky. This mill had four puddling furnaces the first 
in Pittsburgh. We think that it was also the first to roll 
bar iron. It was built by Baldwin, Robinson, McNickle &_ 
Beltzhoover. Jt is claimed that the first angle iron rolled 
in the United States was rolled at this mill by Samuel Leon- 
ard, who also rolled " L " iron for salt pans. On Pine creek, 


on the site of the present works of Spang, Chalfant & Co., 
at Etna, Belknap, Bean & Butler manufactured scythes and 
sickles as early as 1820, but in 1824 their works were en- 
larged and steam-power introduced for the purpose of roll- 
ing blooms. In 1826 the works were operated by M. B. Bel- 
knap. They afterwards passed into the hands of Cuddy & 
Ledlie, and were purchased by H. S. Spang in 1828 to roll 
bar iron from Juniata blooms. A rolling mill on Grant's Hill 
was built in 1821 by William B. Hays and David Adams. It 
stood near where the court-house now stands. Water for the 
generation of steam at this mill had to be hauled from the 
Monongahela river. The Juniata iron works were built in 
1824 by Dr. Peter Shoenberger on the site which they now 
occupy. Sligo rolling mill was erected where it now stands 
by Robert T. Stewart and John Lyon in 1825, but it was 
partly burned down in that year. The Dowlais works, in 
Kensington, were built in 1825 by George Lewis and Reuben 
Leonard. In 1826 all these mills did not make bar iron; 
one or two rolled and hammered iron in other forms. 

The condition of the iron industry at Pittsburgh at the 
close of the first quarter of the present century is thus sum- 
med up in Cramer's Magazine Almanac for 1826 : 

The manufactures of Pittsburgh, particularly in the article of iron, be- 
gin to assume a very interesting aspect. Not less than five rolling mills are 
now in operation, and a sixth will soon be ready, for the various manufact- 
ures of iron. Four of the mills are capable of making iron from the pig, 
besides rolling, slitting, and cutting into nails. The other (occupied by 
Mr. R. Bowen, formerly by the Messrs. Whitings, and owned and built by 
Mr. C. Cowan) is engaged only in rolling bar and boiler iron and cutting 
nails. The fuel to supply the engines the metal and other materials re- 
quired in conducting the operation of these works, and in their repairs, it 
is computed afford employment to upwards of fifteen hundred people, the 
value of whose labour may be estimated at fifteen hundred dollars each 
per annum, or two million two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, while 
the total product may be estimated at three million of dollars ! ! How im- 
portant an addition to the national wealth in this section of the Union ! 
Great credit is due to Messrs. Baldwin, Robinson & McNickle for their 
perseverance in establishing this important branch of business, and for 
bringing it to that perfection which it has attained. Great facilities are 
now afforded to mechanics in all the various branches of smith work and 
hardware by the preparation of iron into whatever shape (slit, rolled, 
square, or round) that may be required for any particular description of 
work. It is generally believed that no other place in the Union affords 
greater advantages for the extensive manufacture of anvils, vices, and all 


kinds of iron work. The competition which at present exists, and which 
is increasing by the erection of new works, will ensure a plentiful supply 
of iron and nails for the Western States, of an improving quality, on bet- 
ter terms than they can be procured from the seaboard. 

The first rolling mill in Allegheny City was the Juniata 
rolling mill, built in 1827. It bore the same name as Dr. 
Shoenberger's mill previously erected in Pittsburgh in 1824, 
but it must not be confounded with it. The following cir- 
cumstantial account of the Allegheny City enterprise we take 
from Recollections of Seventy Years, by Judge John E. Parke, 
who died in Allegheny City on April 22, 1885, aged 78 years. 

The Juniata rolling mill was built on the lot extending from Robin- 
son street along the west side of Darragh street to the Allegheny river, at 
the former outlet of the Pennsylvania Canal, by Sylvanus Lothrop, James 
Anderson, and Henry Blake, in the years 1826 and 1827. Mr. Blake sold 
his interest to Capt. William Stewart, and Messrs. Lothrop, Anderson, and 
Stewart sold out their interest in 1834 to John Bissell, William Morrison, 
and Edward W. Stephens. The mill, having been constructed for the 
exclusive use of Juniata blooms, was extended by the latter firm to the 
manufacture of iron by the puddling and boiling process, and was the first 
boiling furnace erected in Allegheny county. Here, too, was also erected 
the first coffee-mill squeezer, under the personal superintendence of the 
patentee, Mr. Burden, of New York. The manufacture of iron, nails, and 
steel of the lowest grade was successfully carried on by the latter firm and 
their successors until the year 1859, when it was deemed advisable to dis- 
mantle the works. The machinery was sold to Messrs. Reis, Brown, Ber- 
ger, and James Ward, and was removed to Niles, Ohio. 

In the United States a rolling mill is understood to mean 
an establishment for rolling iron or steel, and it may have 
one train of rolls or many trains. 

Jn 1829 Allegheny county had eight rolling mills, using 
6,000 tons of blooms and 1,500 tons of pig iron, all brought 
from other localities. In that year there were nine found- 
ries, which consumed 3,500 tons of iron. In 1828 the iron 
rolled was 3,291 tons, in 1829 it was 6,217 tons, and in 1830 
it was 9,282 tons. In 1831 there were two steel furnaces at 
Pittsburgh. Cast iron began to be used in this year for pil- 
lars, the caps and sills of windows, etc. In 1836 there were 
nine rolling mills in operation and eighteen foundries, en- 
gine-factories, and machine-shops. In 1856 there were at 
Pittsburgh and in Allegheny county twenty-five rolling mills. 
In 1890 there were sixty iron rolling mills and steel works in 
Allegheny county. The Pittsburgh rolling mills were large- 


ly supplied from, the first with blooms from the Juniata val- 
ley and with pig iron from nearer localities, but large quan- 
tities of blooms were also brought to. Pittsburgh from Ohio, 
Kentucky, and Tennessee. Allegheny county has long enjoy- 
ed the reputation of leading all other iron districts in the 
country in the production of rolled iron and the various 
kinds of steel. Of its enterprise in the manufacture of steel 
we will speak in subsequent chapters. 

Clinton furnace, built in 1859 by Graff, Bennett & Co., 
and blown in on the last Monday of October in that year, 
was the first furnace built in Allegheny county after the aban- 
donment in 1794 of George Anshutz's furnace at Shady Side, 
a surprisingly long interval if we consider the prominence of 
this great iron centre in the manufacture of rolled iron after 
its second large rolling mill, the Union, was built in 1819. 
This furnace was built to use coke made from coal from the 
Pittsburgh . vein, but it did not prove to be a good furnace 
fuel, and coke from the Connellsville region was soon substi- 
tuted with great success. This success led to the building of 
other coke furnaces at Pittsburgh and in Allegheny county. 
Their aggregate production of pig iron in 1883 was greater 
than that of any other district in the United States, not ex- 
cepting the celebrated Lehigh valley district in Pennsylvania. 
This position of supremacy has since been maintained. The 
production of pig iron by Allegheny county in 1890 was 
greater than that of any State in the Union, Pennsylvania 
excepted. It amounted to 1,337,309 gross tons. Iron ore 
for the furnaces of this county is chiefly obtained from the 
Lake Superior region, but some other native ores are used 
and also considerable quantities of foreign ores. About 
twenty years ago Missouri ores were used in large quantities. 
There are now twenty-six coke furnaces in this county, and 
many of them are among the best in the country. The 
best blast-furnace record that has been made in this or any 
other country must be credited to the furnaces connected 
with the Edgar Thomson steel works at Braddock, Allegheny 
county. We will refer to this record hereafter. 

IN 1810 there were in Pennsylvania 44 blast furnaces, 78 
forges, 4 bloomaries, 18 rolling and slitting mills, 6 air fur- 


naces, 50 trip-hammers, 5 steel furnaces, and 175 naileries. 
The furnaces produced 26,878 gross tons of " cast iron," the 
product of the whole country, with 153 blast and air fur- 
naces, "being 53,908 tons. Of the 5 steel furnaces in Pennsyl- 
vania one was in Philadelphia city and one each in Phila- 
delphia, Lancaster, Dauphin, and Fayette counties, and their 
product was 531 tons of steel, valued at $81,147. In 1840 
there were 213 furnaces in Pennsylvania and 169 forges and 
rolling mills. In 1850 there were 298 furnaces, 121 forges, 
6 bloomaries, and 79 rolling mills. Of the furnaces exist- 
ing in 1850 nearly all were charcoal furnaces, only 57 being 
anthracite and 11 bituminous coal and coke furnaces. The 
production of the furnaces in 1849 was 253,035 tons ; of the 
bloomaries, 335 tons ; of the forges, 28,495 tons ; and of the 
rolling mills, 108,358 tons. 

The charcoal iron industry of Pennsylvania still exists, 
but its glory has departed. About 1840 a revolution was 
created in the iron industry of the country by the introduc- 
tion of bituminous and anthracite coal in the blast furnace, 
and soon afterwards the manufacture of charcoal iron in 
Pennsylvania furnaces commenced to decline. About 1830 
rolling mills in many parts of the State began to puddle 
iron extensively, and this innovation drove out of existence 
many charcoal forges which had been employed in produc- 
ing blooms for rolling mills as well as to be reduced to bar 
iron under their own hammers. Most of the charcoal fur- 
naces and forges and all of the primitive charcoal bloom- 
aries have been abandoned. 

Since about the middle of the last century Pennsylvania 
has been noted as the leading iron and steel making State in 
the Union. For many years it has produced one-half of all 
the pig iron, one-half of all the rolled iron, and more than 
one-half of all the steel made in the United States. In 1890 
it made 48 per cent, of the large product of pig iron in that 
year ; 61 per cent, of the Bessemer steel ingots produced ; 70 
per cent, of the Bessemer steel rails produced ; 81 per cent, 
of the open-hearth steel produced ; 75 per cent, of the cru- 
cible steel produced ; 52 per cent, of the rolled iron produc- 
ed ; and 54 per cent, of the product of rolled steel other than 
steel rails. 



IN the Colonial Records of Pennsylvania, volume L, page 
115, mention is made of one James Bowie, who was " living 
near iron hill about eight miles distance from New Castle," 
Delaware, in 1684. In Oldmixon's British Empire in Amer- 
ica, edition of 1708, in referring to New Castle county, then in 
Pennsylvania l)ut now in Delaware, it is said that there is a 
place in the county " called iron hill, from the iron ore found 
there," but the existence of an "iron mill" to use the ore is 
expressly denied. This iron hill is undoubtedly the one re- 
ferred to in the Colonial Records as having been known as 
early as 1684. It may be that it was in the neighborhood 
of this deposit where Richard Frame's forty pounds of iron 
were made as early as 1692, and which he credits to Pennsyl- 
vania, and that it was the iron ore -in this hill to which Ga- 
briel Thomas referred in 1698 in his description of Pennsyl- 
vania, the territory now embraced in the State of Delaware 
forming an integral part of Penn's province down to a much 
later date than the one last mentioned. 

Mr. Hungerford says that iron hill, in Pencader hundred, 
in New Castle county, Delaware, was called by that name as 
early as May, 1661, and that iron ore was discovered at that 
place by the Dutch soon after their occupancy of the terri- 
tory in 1655, if not earlier by the Swedes. He further in- 
forms us that in April, 1661, four Englishmen were murdered 
by Indians while on their way from New Amstel (now New 
Castle) to the head of Chesapeake bay. The affair caused a 
correspondence between Vice-Director William Beekman, of 
the Dutch West India colony, then at Fort Altena, (Wilming- 
ton,) and Vice-Director Alexander De Hinijossa, of the colo- 
ny of the City of Amsterdam, at New Amstel, on one side, 
and the Director-General, Petrus Stuyvesant, upon the other. 
Beekman recites the fact in his letter dated May 27th, but 
does not locate the place. De Hinijossa, under date of May 
15th, says it occurred at "Morettica, on iron hill." 


Mrs. James says that on the 24th of September, 1717, 
Sir William Keith, Governor of Pennsylvania, " wrote to the 
Board of Trade in London that he had found great plenty 
of iron ore in Pennsylvania," and Bishop says that " Sir Will- 
iam Keith had iron works in New Castle county, Delaware, 
erected previous to 1730, and probably during his adminis- 
tration from 1717 to 1726." Emanuel Swedenborg, in his 
De Ferro, printed in 1734, gives some particulars of the early 
iron works in Delaware, which he derived from the Swedish 
settlers on the Delaware river. He mentions smelting works 
on the Christiana river, built by Sir William Keith during 
the latter part of his administration, which produced large 
quantities of iron in the first two years of their existence 
but were abandoned the next year owing to the difficulty 
of smelting the ore. He also mentions another enterprise, 
about a mile distant from the other works. Mr. Hunger- 
ford says that this last enterprise was on the south bank of 
Christiana creek, north of iron hill, and was called Abbington 
furnace. It was built by a company in 1726 or 1727. A 
forge was built near this furnace before 1734, when it and an 
eighth part of the furnace were owned by Samuel James. A 
bloomary, located near St. James's church, on the Huitleer 
river, (White Clay creek,) is mentioned by Swedenborg, the 
owner being John Ball, who was a blacksmith. We give 
herewith a translation of Swedenborg's whole reference to the 
early iron works in Delaware, reminding the reader that the 
volume from which it is taken was printed in 1734. 

About nine years ago works for smelting iron were constructed by 
the Governor of the Province, Sir William Keith, on the banks of the river 
Christiana. For the first two years of their existence they produced a suf- 
ficient quantity of iron ; but during the third year, because the ore failed, 
they were abandoned. It is asserted that the ore of this region contains 
much iron, but that it is refractory, and without limestone as a flux (of 
which there is little to be had) can not be smelted. At the distance of one 
mile from that place there is another smelting works erected, but it is said 
that, on account of the exceeding dryness of the ore and scarcity of lime- 
stone, smelting has not been undertaken there ; but the ore is now reduced 
by itself in hearths, small bars, or reworked crude iron, being produced at 
pleasure. In the neighborhood, on the river Huitleer, are similar small 
works near the church of St. James, and owned by Mr. John Ball, where 
also from ore, or crude iron, bars for blacksmith's work, or forgings, are pro- 
duced by successive reheatings, but these works have but one hearth. 


Mr. Hungerford says that Sir William Keith commenced 
purchasing lands in Delaware in 1722 and made his last pur- 
chase in 1726, in which year seven tracts of land, embracing 
in all 1,260 acres, and lying in the hundreds of Pencader, 
White Clay, Mill Creek, and Christiana, were all sold by Sir 
William to John England, then manager of Principio fur- 
nace, in Maryland. 

We have seen an autograph legal opinion of Andrew 
Hamilton, not published, dated Philadelphia, March 6, 1730, 
from which we learn that Sir William Keith agreed to con- 
vey to John England " sundry lands and tenements in New 
Castle county, on Dellaware, upon which lands there was a 
small iron forge and supposed to be a great quantity of iron 
ore." It was afterwards ascertained, however, that the ore 
referred to was on the land of John Evans and not on Sir 
William's lands, but the existence of a forge on the lands of 
the latter is not called in question by the author of the opin- 
ion. Undoubtedly Sir William owned a forge, as appears 
from the opinion, and it probably succeeded a furnace. 

In a biographical and critical sketch of Sir William 
Keith, written by Charles P. Keith, and published in the 
Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography for 1888, we 
find the following reference to Sir William's iron enterprises 
in Delaware : " The Just and Plain Vindication of Sir William 
Keith, published about the middle of 1726, says that he had 
laid out not only two thousand pounds on a farm, but 
1 4,000?. in another Place ; where, by Erecting an Iron-Work, 
it is improved to near double the prime Cost, and this last 
Estate Sir William all along designed as a Security to his 
Creditors, until they were fully satisfy'd and paid ; ' while the 
More Just Vindication answers that scarcely any one would 
take the works as a gift, if obliged to maintain them." Sir 
William's " iron work " was probably built between 1722 and 
1726, as it was in the year first mentioned when he appears 
to have commenced to purchase lands in Delaware. 

The exact location of Sir William Keith's iron enterprise, 
which was probably the first of its kind in Delaware, we have 
been unable to determine, but it is exceedingly probable that 
it was located near iron hill. That it was on the Christiana 
river is made certain by Swedenborg's exact statement. The 


Christiana skirts the foot of iron hill. It will be remembered 
that, on the 24th of September, 1717, Sir William wrote to 
the Board of Trade in London that he had found " great 
plenty of iron ore " in Pennsylvania, the reference being most 
probably to New Castle county, Delaware, where Sir William 
afterwards engaged in the manufacture of iron. He did not 
engage in that manufacture at any other place in Pennsylva- 
nia or Delaware. There is not any " great plenty of iron ore " 
anywhere else in New Castle county than at iron hill. 

There is a local tradition that there was a furnace at the 
foot of iron hill about 1730. In the gable of an old Baptist 
church near iron hill is a cast-iron plate, dated 1746, which 
was probably cast at Abbington furnace. In the edition of 
Oldmixon for 1741 the author says that " between Brandy- 
wine and Christiana is an iron mill." This reference must 
be to Abbington furnace. The original members of the com- 
pany which built this furnace are given by Mr. Hungerford 
as follows from a deed dated October 27, 1727, at which time 
it is stated in the deed that the furnace had been completed : 
" Samuel James, of Penkadder hundred, in y e county of New 
Castell, upon Deleware, millwright, of the first part; Reece 
Jones, of Penkadder hundred, tanner, of the second part; 
Samuel Nutt, of Chester county, Pennsylvania, ironmonger, 
of the third part; Evan Owen, of the city of Philadelphia, 
merchant, of the fourth part ; William Branson, of Philadel- 
phia, merchant, of the fifth part ; Thomas Rutter, of the 
same city, smith, of the sixth part ; John Rutter, of the same 
city, smith, of the seventh part ; and Caspar Wistar, of Phil- 
adelphia, brass-button maker, of the eighth part." No men- 
tion is made of Abbington furnace or the forge of Samuel 
James after 1768. Both furnace and forge are often referred 
to as the Abbington iron works. The furnace stood on the 
south bank of Christiana creek near the Anabaptist meeting- 
house, and the forge stood, on land now owned by the Cooch 
brothers and above the Cooch mill. The furnace was situ- 
ated on land now owned by William McConaughey. 

Mr. Hungerford informs us that one John Ball owned a 
tract of land in Mill Creek hundred, containing 400 acres, 
called "New Design," which in a deed is described as lying 
on the west side of a branch of White Clay creek, called Mill 


creek, between Mill creek and William Ball's land, and he 
also owned 100 acres of land adjoining. St. James's church 
is on the east side of Mill creek, nearly opposite the tract 
"New Design," upon which the Balls lived. Iron hill was 
about six or seven miles distant. The ore for John Ball's 
bloomary was doubtless hauled from iron hill. 

The iron hill to which reference has above been made is 
situated about three miles south of Newark, near the Mary- 
land line and in sight of Christiana creek. Ore taken from 
this place has been used at Principio furnace, in Cecil county, 
Maryland, since 1847. This ore has also been used at some 
furnaces in Pennsylvania. Previous to 1847 the mines had 
been worked but little. Between 1832 and 1847 some ore was 
mined here and taken to a furnace in New Jersey. 

Bishop says that in Sussex county, in the southern part 
of Delaware, "where bog ore in the shape of a very pure 
hydrate, yielding from 55 to 66 per cent, of iron, exists in 
large beds in the vicinity of Georgetown and on the branch- 
es of the Nanticoke, and Indian rivers, the manufacture of 
iron and castings was carried on before the Revolution to 
a considerable extent. The compact hydrated peroxide of 
some of these beds has, since the early part of this century, 
been raised in quantities for exportation, and the local produc- 
tion of iron is consequently less than it might have been." 
Tench Coxe, in his report on The Arts and Manufactures of the 
United States in 1810, mentions five forges in Sussex county, 
which produced in that year 215 tons of iron, but he makes 
no reference to a blast furnace in the whole State. Bog ore 
from near Milton, in Sussex county, was at one time taken 
to Millville, New Jersey, to be smelted in a furnace at that 
place which was built in 1815. Sussex ore has also been 
shipped to other places. 

In 1763 a company, under the leadership of Colonel 
Joseph Vaughan, built a furnace near Concord, in Sussex 
county, on Deep creek, a tributary of Nanticoke river, to 
which a forge on Nanticoke river was added in 1769. They 
were known as the Deep Creek iron works, the furnace be- 
ing known as Deep Creek furnace and the forge as Nanti- 
coke forge. The company had a stone wharf at the head 
of Nanticoke river, and shipped its iron direct to England. 


The iron was called "Old Meadow." "The stone wharf is 
there yet," said Mr. Francis Vincent, of Wilmington, in a let- 
ter we received from him a few years ago. The Revolution- 
ary war practically ended these enterprises. Colonel Vaughan 
commanded one of the Delaware regiments during the Rev- 
olution. Another furnace at Concord, also located on Deep 
creek, was built by a company in 1764, the furnace being 
known as Pine Grove. This furnace was abandoned soon 
after the close of the Revolution. Unity forge, on the main 
branch of Nanticoke river, was built as early as 1771 and 
continued in operation as late as 1816. 

As late as 1850 there was a forge on Gravelly branch, in 
Nanticoke hundred, in Sussex county, known as Collins's 
forge, which made bar iron in large quantities from iron ore 
from lands farther east for the Baltimore and Philadelphia 
markets. It was built about 1808 by John Collins, who was 
afterwards Governor of Delaware. In 1808 Shadrach Elliot 
built a forge at the mouth of Gravelly branch and at the 
upper end of the Middleford pond. In a deed for part of the 
land, dated August 4, 1812, the forge is mentioned as " Grav- 
elly Delight forge." It probably went out of operation be- 
tween 1816 -and 1820. In 1807 Josiah Polk was in possession 
of a forge which had been erected some time before on the 
south side of Broad creek, about a mile and a half east of 
Laurel, in Sussex county. It was operated by him until his 
death, which occurred about 1840, and was then abandoned. 

We are indebted to Mr. Hungerford for exact information 
concerning all of the above-mentioned early Sussex county 
iron works, not one of which now remains. 

About 1820, as we were informed in his lifetime by 
Hon. Caleb S. Layton, of Sussex county, a blast furnace was 
established at Millsborough, on Indian river, about eight 
miles south of Georgetown, by Colonel William D. Waples 
and others. In connection with this furnace was a foundry. 
An interest in the furnace was purchased in 1822 by Hon. 
Samuel G. Wright, of New Jersey, and in 1830 his son, 
Colonel Gardiner H. Wright, obtained an interest, and after- 
wards operated the furnace until 1836, when it went out 
of blast. The foundry continued in operation until 1879. 
In 1859 Lesley stated that "Millsborough charcoal furnace, 


owned by Gardiner H. Wright, of Millsborough, Sussex 
county, Delaware, is the only furnace in the State, and has 
not made iron for ten years. A cupola furnace is in activity 
beside it." Mr. Vincent informed us that the castings for the 
Eastern Penitentiary of Pennsylvania and for Moyamensing 
Prison, and the iron railing which once surrounded Inde- 
pendence Square, in Philadelphia, were cast at Millsborough 
furnace; we presume at the " cupola furnace." In 1828 and 
in the two succeeding years Millsborough furnace and found- 
ry produced 450 tons of pig iron and 350 tons of castings. 

A rolling mill near Wilmington, Delaware, existing and 
in operation in 1787 or 1788, has already been referred to in 
the chapter relating to New York. This mill then rolled 
Swedish and Russia iron for the use of a New York cut-nail 
factory. It occupied the site of the present Hagley powder 
works. It was built before 1783 and was abandoned about 

Tench Coxe says that in 1810 there were three rolling and 
slitting mills in New Castle county. Lesley stated in 1859 
that the Delaware iron works, located five miles northwest of 
Wilmington, then owned by Alan Wood, of Philadelphia, and 
built in 1812, " began to manufacture sheet iron thirty years 
ago in what had been a nail-plate works. At that time only 
Townsend in New Jersey made sheet iron." Marshall's roll- 
ing mill, on Red Clay creek, two miles west of Newport, was 
built in 1836 by Caleb and John Marshall, to roll sheet iron. 
The Wilmington rolling mill, near Wilmington, was built in 
1845, and the Diamond State rolling mill, at Wilmington, was 
built in 1853. These were the only rolling mills existing in 
Delaware in 1859. Others have since been built. Thft busi- 
ness of iron shipbuilding has been added to the iron indus- 
try of Delaware within the last few years. There is now 
neither a blast furnace nor a forge nor a bloomary remain- 
ing in the State. 




IN his Report on the Manufacture of Iron, addressed to the 
Governor of Maryland in 1840, Alexander gives 1715 as the 
" epoch of furnaces in Mary land, Virginia, and Pennsylvania." 
This statement is not strictly accurate except in regard to 
Virginia. Pennsylvania's first furnace was not built until 
about 1720 ; certainly not before that year. Maryland had no 
iron enterprises but a bloomary or two until 1724, when its 
first furnace was built. Scrivenor says that in 1718 " Mary- 
land and Virginia " exported to England 3 tons and 7 cwt. 
of bar iron, upon which the mother country collected a duty 
of 6 19s. Id. This bar iron could only have been made 
in Maryland, as Virginia had no forges at this time. 

In 1719 the general assembly of Maryland passed an act 
"authorizing 100 acres of land to belaid off to any who 
would set up furnaces and forges in the province." Other 
inducements were offered in 1721 and subsequently to those 
who would engage in the manufacture of iron. The pre- 
amble to the act of 1719 recites that " there are very great 
conveniences of carrying on iron works within this province, 
which have not hitherto been embraced for want of proper 
encouragement to some first undertakers" which clearly im- 
plies that iron enterprises had already been undertaken in 
Maryland but were not then in operation. As a result of 
the encouragement given by the general assembly authentic 
reports show that in 1749 and again in 1756 there were eight 
furnaces and nine forges in Maryland, and that on the 21st 
of December, 1761, there were eight furnaces, making about 
2,500 tons of pig iron annually, and ten forges, capable of 
making about 600 tons of bar iron annually. During the 
colonial period Maryland had no manufacturing industry 
worthy of the name except that of iron. Tobacco-growing 
and wheat-growing formed the principal employments of the 
\ people. 

The first iron works in Maryland were probably erected 


in Cecil county, at the head of Chesapeake bay. We sup- 
pose that a bloomary at North East, on North East river, 
erected previous to 1716, formed the pioneer iron enterprise. 
That iron works were built at North East prior to 1716 is 
proved by a deed dated in that year, in which Robert Dutton 
conveyed a flour mill near the " bottom of the main falls of 
North East," and also fifty acres of land, to Richard Bennett 
for 100 in silver money. In this deed " iron works " are 
mentioned as among the appurtenances which were convey- 
ed by it. We quote from Johnston's History of Cecil County. 
These works could have embraced only a bloomary, as there 
was not at this time a blast furnace, to supply a forge with 
pig iron, in either Maryland or Pennsylvania, and the first 
blast furnace in Virginia had just been built. The works 
were probably not then active. 

Johnston says that in 1722 Stephen Onion & Co. leased 
two tracts of land, called Vulcan's Rest and Vulcan's Trial, 
the first of which joined Dutton's mill-dam on the south, 
and also another tract in Susquehanna Manor called Diffi- 
dence, lying on the north side of the North East river. 

About the time of the passage of the act of 1719, above 
alluded to, Joseph Farmer, an ironmaster, of England, came 
to Maryland in behalf of himself and other adventurers in 
the manufacture of iron. Whether he was interested in the 
works at North East or not can not now be learned. In 1722 
Mr. Farmer and his associates, afterwards known as the 
Principio Company, commenced the erection of a furnace on 
Talbot's manor, in fcecil county, near the mouth of Principio 
creek, which empties into Chesapeake bay about six miles 
distant from the town of North East. Johnston says that Mr. 
Farmer's associates at this time embraced Stephen Onion, 
Joshua Gee, William Russell, and John Ruston. He thinks 
that the North East company, known as Stephen Onion & 
Co., was consolidated with the Principio Company. The lat- 
ter company was at first styled Joseph Farmer & Co. Af- 
ter having made some progress in the erection of the fur- 
nace Farmer returned to England, probably early in 1722, 
leaving the enterprise in charge of Stephen Onion as gen- 
eral manager. A son of Joshua Gee and Thomas Russell, 
a son of William Russell, were at Principio at this time. 


At the beginning of 1723 the Principio Company was 
composed of William Chetwynd, of Grindon, in Warwickshire, 
a gentleman of wealth and position ; Joshua Gee, a merchant 
of London ; William Russell, an ironmaster of Birmingham ; 
John England, an ironmaster of Staffordshire ; John Huston, 
and Joseph Farmer. It is very clear that the company had 
been enlarged, as the result of glowing representations made 
by Farmer. Several of the members, including Joshua Gee 
and John England, were members of the Society of Friends. 
William Chetwynd was the leading capitalist of the company. 
Walter Chetwynd also became a member as early as 1725. 
In consequence of the mismanagement of Stephen Onion it 
was at this time decided to put John England, who resided 
at or near Tamworth, in immediate charge of the Principio 
enterprise, with entire control of the company's operations in 
America. Accordingly, in April, 1723, John England and his 
wife sailed from Bristol for Philadelphia, which place they 
reached after a passage of seven weeks and one day. A few 
days afterwards they arrived at Principio. 

On June 25th of the same year Mr. England wrote to Mr. 
Farmer a long letter of complaint concerning the condition 
in which he found the affairs of the company at Principio. 
He says : " When I came I found I think everything contra- 
ry to my expectations on thy information; for as to y e fur- 
nace, which, according to thy information when at London, 
was very near ready to blow, is but 18 inches above y e second 
couplings, and y e inner wall is but 6 feet high. . . Neither 
did I think thee wouldest have been guilty of ordering a fur- 
nace to have been built until thee hadst been sure of mine, 
that which was good and enough of it for perpetuity ; for I 
have been at Patapsco, Bush river, and North East, and seen 
all y e mine along shore in every place, and can not find any 
more than will serve for one blast, if that. . . And when I 
treated with thee I feared interest was in y e bottom, which 
now I find true. . . As to stock of both cole and mine, there 
may be about two months' stock in of both cole and mine, 
and when there will be a stock for a blast I can not tell, cole 
lying three miles from y e furnace and stone at such a dis- 
tance. . . You may assure yourselves here hath been and is 
such ruin as I never saw." The letter dwelt at length upon 


the unhealthiness of Principle). It may here be stated that 
his wife died in this year and that he was himself seized 
with a severe illness. /The letter further dwelt upon the in- 
efficiency, drunkenness, and mutinous temper of the work- 
men, many of whom appear to have been convicts from Eng- 
land, while others were " redemptioners " from various Euro- 
pean countries!) After stating that his disgust was at first so 
great that he had thought of immediately returning to Eng- 
land he adds : " I concluded to stay and set up a little forge 
to try y e iron if ever y e furnace runs any mettle." This let- 
ter was intended to be seen by other members of the com- 
pany, to some of whom similar letters were written on the 
same day. 

Subsequent letters from John England to various members 
of the company are largely devoted to the narration of other 
difficulties with which he had to contend, chief of which was 
the financial and other demoralization produced by the mis- 
management of the company's affairs by Stephen Onion. At 
the close of the year Onion, who had been retained as clerk, 
was dismissed, and after that event Mr. England appears to 
have had less trouble. 

Stephen Onion had made false representations in 1722 of 
the progress that had been made in building the furnace. On 
the llth of August of that year he wrote to the company 
as follows : " We hope we shall finish the stack of the fur- 
nace, casting-house, and bridge ditto in a month more. The 
colly ers are at work, and hope to fiave in by Christmas 400 
load of cole." Of the actual progress made in building the 
furnace down to John England's arrival in 1723 we have 
already been informed in that gentleman's letters. In 1724 
Stephen Onion and Thomas Russell sailed from New Castle 
for Great Britain in the same ship with Benjamin Franklin, 
who says in his autobiography that they were "masters of 
an iron work in Maryland " and had engaged " the great cab- 
in." Franklin would not, of course, receive from Mr. Onion 
a true account of the situation at Principio. 

The hopeful temper and the wise determination of the 
Principio Company after the true situation of its affairs had 
been explained by Mr. England are seen in the following 
extracts from a letter to him from the company, dated at 


Birmingham, September 25, 1723 : " We must tell you it is 
greatly to our satisfaction that we have you upon the place, 
in whom we can entirely depend that you will use your 
utmost care in regulating these disorders and in bringing 
those refractory workmen to better discipline},. . We hope 
mine cannot be wanting in the several rivers. Joseph Farm- 
er says that upon tryal of the gritty mine in several places 
he found by the loadstone as much iron in it as there is 
in most of the mines that are worked in England, and hope 
you will experience it to be so, and y* when it is mixed 
with a tougher mine will make a good sort of piggs for the 
English market. We are also pleased with your resolution 
to build a small forge to try the piggs. Our resolution is 
steady for carrying on our works, for we think it would be 
too great a reflection upon our conduct to quit a business 
of this nature till we have try'd fully what may be done. 
. . We give you full power in everything that relates to 
our concern under your care, to manage, direct, and put 
them forward in such manner as you shall judge for the 
interest of the company." 

On September 12, 1723, John England wrote to Joshua 
Gee as follows : " I have been at .a bloomary with some of our 
mine, and it maketh very good iron, and iron taketh a very 
good price here, <40 per ton, and hath done for several years 
past." Where this bloomary was located we can not discover, 
nor by whom it was owned, but it can easily be conjectured 
that it was at North East, where there were " iron works " as 
early as 1716, as has already been stated. 

On January 13, 1724, Mr. England wrote to Joshua Gee 
that he was "going on with y e forge dam and race to bring 
water to y e forge." In the same month he wrote to Joseph 
Farmer concerning the bellows for the chafery and finery, 
which he desired to have made in England. On the 2d of 
April, 1724, he wrote to Joshua Gee that he had heard of 
"mine" near Annapolis, which he was going to see. In the 
same month he wrote to William Russell that "y e furnace 
might have blowed some time since, but did not think it 
proper so to do without a better stock of cole and mine upon 
y e bank ; " also that the company's sloop was then employed 
" in fetching shells to burn for lime to build a great stone 


wall for y e fore bay of y e forge," and that other preparations 
for building the forge and its accessories were then in active 
progress. In both letters the hope was expressed that there 
would soon be a sufficient supply of charcoal to keep the 
furnace in blast for some time, "if we can but get mine." 
Mr. England was continually apprehensive of a scarcity of 
iron ore of good quality, which he had not found in abun- 
dance in the neighborhood of the furnace, but for which he 
sought diligently in other places. 

We do not again hear of the Principio works until Sep- 
tember 15, 1725, when William and Walter Chetwynd, John 
Wightwick, William Russell, and Thomas Russell write to 
Mr. England from Grindon a long and a very important 
letter, conveying to him "full and absolute power over all 
persons employed in America in our service," and also " full 
power to act in all things with y e authority as we ourselves 
were we on y e spot." This fresh expression of confidence 
and fresh grant of authority had a special object in view, as 
we shall presently see, but we are now interested in learning 
from this letter that " our furnace and forge in Maryland " 
were finished when it was written. We presume that the fur- 
nace \vas put in blast in 1724 and that the forge was started 
in 1725. The letter says : " We hear you have a good stock 
of pigs on y e bank, therefore desire you not to fail sending us 
by y e first shipping what pigs you can spare over and above 
what can be worked up at y e forge till- y e furnace goes again, 
which we hope may be between 3 and 400 tons ; for tho y e 
forge should be worked double hand, w r hich we intend it 
shall, it will hardly work up above 8 tons of pigs per week, 
and to have y e overplus of y e pigs lying dead will be great 
loss to y e company." This extract would seem to indicate 
that the -furnace had finished its first blast and was then idle. 
It was certainly in blast as early as May 9, 1725, on which 
date Joseph Growdon, of Bensalem, on Neshaminy creek, 
in the extreme southern corner of Bucks county, Pennsyl- 
vania, ordered a "hammer, anvil, and other iron work nec- 
essary for one single bloomary " to be cast at the furnace, 
Mr. Growdon having found iron ore on his land. (We can not 
learn that Mr. Growdon's bloomary was ever built.) Refer- 
ence is made in the letter from the company to " two finers 


and hammermen " who had been sent to work at the forge, 
and others were promised "in a short time." Mr. England is 
advised to " sell all y e iron you make at y e forge at Principio " 
in American markets instead of sending it to England to be 
sold. Stephen Onion appears to have had sufficient address 
to secure from the company his partial restoration to favor, 
as the letter advises Mr. England that he had been appoint- 
ed clerk of the furnace and forge, but subject wholly to Mr. 
England's authority, wno is expressly told that he can dis- 
charge him if he does not give satisfaction. 

It will be observed from the names of the signers of the 
above letter that the personnel of the Principio Company 
had undergone some changes. In a letter from William Chet- 
wynd to John England, dated September 19th, he refers to 
the signers of the above letter as " all y e company except 
Mr. Gee," who was not wanted but could not be shaken off. 
The names of John Huston and Joseph Farmer do not ap- 
pear, thus indicating that they were no longer members of 
the company. In subsequent years other names are added. 

We now come to consider the particular object which 
the company had in view in writing the letter of the 15th of 
September to Mr. England. It appears that this gentleman 
in his search for iron ore had found valuable deposits on the 
land of Captain Augustine Washington, on the north side of 
the Rappahannock river, in Virginia. This Captain Wash- 
ington was the father -of George Washington. Mr. England 
had been so favorably impressed with the value of the ore 
on Captain Washington's land, and with the other advantages 
which the location offered for the manufacture of iron, that 
he had contracted with that gentleman in the name of the 
company to erect a furnace upon his land, Captain Washing- 
ton to have an interest in its ownership. The company be- 
ing informed of this new venture was so well satisfied that 
all its members except Joshua Gee united in writing to Mr. 
England the letter of September 15th already referred to. It 
began : " We that sign are met together at Grindon, and 
give you hereby full power to build iron works on Captain 
Washington's land on y e terms you have agreed with him, 
and to use your own judgment and discretion in all things 
relating thereto." They added that they thought the loca- 


tion of the proposed new iron works was " exceedingly well 
chosen," and further said : " You will try y e Captain's mine 
in y e furnace and forge as soon as you can." In this letter 
the company also approved of Mr. England's selection of 
Ralph Falkner "to be clerk of y e Virginia furnace," and au- 
thorized him to "buy what negroes you think fit and draw 
for y e money." The letter of the 15th of September made a 
division of the shares of ownership in the new venture. 

Mr. England at once proceeded with the erection of a fur- 
nace on Captain Washington's land. This was Accokeek fur- 
nace, about which we shall have something further to say 
in a later chapter devoted to Vi^inia^ It was long known 
as " England's iron works." The clerk"at Accokeek furnace 
when it was built was Ralph Falkner, but as early as 1730 
Nathaniel Chapman was the clerk. Johnston has fallen into 
an error in his History of Cecil County where he says: "At 
what time the Washingtons first became connected with the 
company is uncertain, but it was proT5ably in 1733." It was 
as early as 1725. Accokeek furnace was probably put in 
blast in 1726. 

On September 19, 1725, William Chetwynd wrote to Mr. 
England as follows : " We hope very soon to send you over 
workmen sufficient to work y e forge double hand and also 
a couple of castors. You have full power to buy at any time 
40 or 50 blacks, or what number you think proper, and draw 
for y e money. I am of opinion it would be proper to secure 
more land near Captain Washington's mine, because if y e 
mine is so considerable a one as you mention it must answer 
very well to have two furnaces there." 

In various letters from the company to Mr. England he 
is advised to send pig iron freely to England but to sell his 
bar iron in America. 

In 1730 John England was still in charge of all the com- 
pany's iron enterprises in this country, including an aban- 
doned project on James river which had not been given tan- 
gible shape. Stephen Onion was still the clerk at Principio, 
but the company was annoyed at his failure to settle his ac- 
counts. The Principio furnace and forge and the Accokeek 
furnace were in operation in this year. At this time we hear ' 
nothing of a forge at North East. 


Prior to 1730 Mr. England bought conditionally from Sir 
William Keith, as has been stated in the Delaware chapter, 
" sundry lands and tenements in New Castle county, on Del- 
la ware, upon which lands there was a small iron fforge and 
supposed to be a great quantity of iron ore." It was his in- 
tention to erect upon this land " works for carrying on the 
making of pigg and barr iron if a sufficient quantity of iron 
ore or mine could be found on y e land." This project was 
abandoned, and we hear no more of his connection with the. 
iron business in Delaware. In 1726 Mr. England had purchas- 
ed for himself an estate on White Clay creek, in New Castle 
county. He passed the last years of his life on this estate 
and at Snowdens' iron works on the Patuxent river, in Mary- 
land, in which he had an interest. He died in 1734. 

John England was one of the most intelligent, enterpris- 
ing, and successful of early American ironmasters. He un- 
doubtedly built the first furnace and the first forge in Mary- 
land. The various works of the Principio Company, of which 
he was so efficient a manager, were in the front rank of our 
colonial iron enterprises for fifty years. They were foremost 
in the production of pig iron and possibly of bar iron* 

For the facts contained in the foregoing very full and 
absolutely accurate history of the commencement of the 
Principio iron works we are wholly indebted to the courtesy 
of James B. England, Esq., of Philadelphia, a descendant of 
Joseph England, (a brother of John England,) who placed in 
our hands the original correspondence between John Eng- 
land and the Principio Company. This correspondence is 
now in the library of the Maryland Historical Society, at 

We are unable to glean any further particulars about the 
first works at North East than have already been given, but 
in an inventory of the possessions of the Principio Company 
in May, 1723, there is an entry which probably refers to these 
works. This entry credits the company with the purchase, on 
July 9, 1722, of 383 acres of land "in Lord Baltimore's Man- 
nor of North East, called Vulcan's Tryal, Vulcan's Enlarge- 
ment, and Diffidence." This purchase may have embraced 
the North East "iron works," upon the site of which, at the 
"bottom of the main falls of North East," the company sub- 


sequently erected a new forge, probably about 1735. It was 
in operation and briskly employed in 1743. The first entry 
in the inventory mentions the purchase on October 14, 1721, 
of 8,110 acres of land called Gee Faruson, near North East. 
It is exceedingly probable that Joseph Farmer and his as- 
sociates made investments at North East preliminary to the 
manufacture of iron at that place before they decided to 
build the furnace at Principio. 

In Emanuel Swedenborg's De Ferro, published in 1734, 
we find at the beginning of an account of iron w r orks " in 
Maryland and Pennsylvania in the "West Indies" the follow- 
ing reference to the Principio works : " There are several fur- 
naces for the smelting of iron ore, as well as works for the 
smelting of raw iron, not so very long since built. The 
principal work is called Principio, in the upper part of the 
province of Maryland, upon the river called Principio, from 
which it also derives its name ; its water is said to fall from 
a height of 25 feet. At this iron work little two-oared boats 
and little ships land laden with iron ore, which is dug 50 
miles from there. The ore is said to be of a white or- gray 
color, not unlike the vases of Holland pottery, containing 50 
per cent, of iron. The iron from this ore is said to carry off 
the palm from the rest." 

Alexander says that a part of the hearth of the original 
Principio furnace was still standing in 1840, when his report 
was written. The same excellent authority says that on Feb- 
ruary 5, 1734, (old style,) in pursuance of the act of 1719, 
already referred to, a precept for 100 acres of land on North 
East river, forming part of North East manor, was issued to 
John Huston, who had been one of the members of the Prin- 
cipio Company ; and he further says that on August 31, 1736, 
this tract was assigned to "William Chetwynd, of Beddington, 
in Surrey, England, who was probably William Chetwynd, of 
Grindon. It was about this time that the company built 
its forge at North East. Alexander says that this forge was 
in his day "commonly called Russell's forge," reference being 
made to the last Russell who was connected with it. 

In 1744 William Black, secretary of the commissioners 
who were appointed by Governor Gooch, of Virginia, to unite 
with those from Pennsylvania and Maryland to treat with the 


Iroquois, or Six Nations of Indians, in reference to the lands 
west of the Alleghenies, wrote in his journal, on May 25th, 
while at North East, in Maryland : " I must not forget that 
in the forenoone the Com'rs and their company went to the 
Principio iron works, in order to view the curiosities of that 
place. They are under the management of Mr. Baxter, a 
Virginian, and was at work forming barr-iron when we came 
there. For my part I was no judge of the workmanship, but 
I thought everything appeared to be in very good order, and 
they are allowed to be as compleat works as any on the con- 
tinent by those who are judges." The furnace and forge at 
Principio were both in operation in that year, the manager 
of which at this time was William Baxter, but the visit of 
the commissioners may have been to the forge at North East. 

We obtain additional information concerning the famous 
Principio Company from a valuable historical essay prepar- 
ed a few years ago by Mr. Henry Whiteley, of Philadelphia. 

Ore for Principio furnace was at first obtained in the 
immediate neighborhood, but as early as September 4, 1724, 
it was obtained from Gorsuch's Point, below Canton, on the 
eastern shore of the Patapsco, about opposite to Fort Mc- 
Henry. In 1727 the Principio Company, through John Eng- 
land, purchased all the iron ore, " opened and discovered, or 
shut and not yet discovered," on Whetstone Point, at the ex- 
tremity of which Fort McHenry now stands, for 300 sterling 
and 20 current money of Maryland. This was for many 
years one of its principal sources of ore supply. Iron ore has 
been taken from Whetstone Point in recent years. 

Kingsbury furnace was the next furnace of the company 
after Accokeek. It was situated on Herring run, at the head 
of Back river, in Baltimore county. It was built in 1744 and 
went into blast in April, 1745, producing at the first blast, 
which lasted till December 18th of the same year, 480 tons of 
pig iron. The first four blasts embraced the period extend- 
ing from April 1,.1745, to December 26, 1751, and produced 
3,853 tons, or an average of 75 tons per working month. More 
than 3,300 tons of the iron were shipped to the company in 
England. In 1751 Lancashire furnace was purchased from 
Dr. Charles Carroll, of Annapolis. It was located near Kings- 
bury, on the west side of a branch of Back river, a few miles 


northeast of Baltimore. The deed embraced 8,200 acres of 
land, and was " signed " on behalf of the company by Law- 
rence Washington, who had succeeded to the interest of his 
father, Captain Washington. Lawrence was a half-brother of 
George Washington. Lancashire furnace was operated by the 
company from the time of its purchase until the Revolution. 
It was its last acquisition of property in America. At the 
time of its purchase the company outranked all competitors, 
being the sole proprietor of four furnaces and two forges, viz. : 
Principio furnace, Cecil county, Maryland, finished in 1724 ; 
Principio forge, at the same place ; North East forge, Cecil 
county, Maryland, built about 1735 ; Accokeek furnace, Virgin- 
ia, built in 1726 ; Kingsbury furnace, Baltimore county, Mary- 
land, built in 1744 ; Lancashire furnace, Baltimore county, 
Maryland, purchased in 1751. The company owned slaves 
and live stock in abundance, and its landed estates were of 
great extent, amounting to nearly thirty thousand acres, ex- 
clusive of the Accokeek lands in Virginia. One-half of the 
pig iron exported to Great Britain from this country before 
the Revolution is said by Mr. Whiteley to have come from 
the furnaces of this company^ 

After 1776 the company had no actual control over any 
of its American property. Thomas Russell, who had been 
the company's general manager, continued to operate the fur- 
naces and forges, and supplied bar iron and cannon balls in 
large quantities to the Continental army. In the Lancashire 
furnace ledger is an " account of shott made at Lancashire 
furnace in the year 1776." 

In 1780 the general assembly of Maryland passed an act 
to seize and confiscate all British property within the State, 
and this was the formal end of the Principio Company, after 
an existence of nearly sixty years. All the property of the 
company, with two exceptions, now passed under the auction- 
eer's hammer and into new hands. The works at North East 
were retained by Thomas Russell, one of the company and 
a son of the first Thomas Russell, who had cast his fortunes 
with the patriotic cause. "A certain Mr. Washington" owned 
a one-twelfth interest in the possessions of the company, and 
was also an adherent of the patriotic cause. This " Mr. 
Washington" was probably one of the brothers of George 


Washington ; he was certainly a relative. What action was 
taken by Virginia concerning the possessions of the com- 
pany in that State we are not advised, but Mr. Washington's 
interest in them and in the company's Maryland possessions 
could not be confiscated. 

Thomas Russell, at his death in 1786, left a son Thomas, 
the third of the name. On his arrival at the age of twenty- 
one, his mother having previously married Daniel Sheredine, 
he revived the iron industry at North East with the aid of 
Sheredine, and in 1802 built a furnace, which was in opera- 
tion only four years. Not proving as profitable as had been 
anticipated it was blown out on the death of young Thomas 
Russell, which occurred in 1806. Thenceforward the various 
iron works at North East met with many vicissitudes until 
they fell into the hands of the present enterprising owners. 

Iron works have been almost continuously in operation at 
Principio and North East since their first establishment, or 
for about one hundred and seventy years. At Principio Mr. 
George P. Whitaker and his associates have had a charcoal 
furnace in operation since 1837 near the site of the first 
Principio furnace ; and at North East, on the very site of the 
forge built by the Principio Company about 1735, are the 
present extensive iron works of the McCullough Iron Com- 
pany, including probably the largest forge in the United 
States for the production of blooms from pig iron. 

Pig iron from early Virginia furnaces near tidewater was 
taken to Principio forge, and also to the forge at North East, 
to be refined into bar iron. 

About forty years ago a whole pig of iron was found near 
the site of the first Principio furnace, which was plainly 
stamped "Principio, 1727." Over twenty years ago several 
pigs of iron, marked " Principio * 1751, " were discovered 
in the bed of the Patapsco river. The relics of 1751 have 
been preserved by the Stickney Iron Company. 

A furnace at the foot of Gwynn's falls, and a forge call- 
ed Mount Royal, at Jones's falls, were built by the Baltimore 
Company soon after 1723 and befor'e 1730 Messrs. Carroll, 
Tasker, and others forming the company. This was the sec- 
ond blast furnace in Maryland. 

Stephen Onion severed his connection with the Principio 


Company and built a furnace and two forges of his own at 
the head of Gunpowder river, about a mile from Joppa, then 
one of the principal towns of Maryland, but now Wholly de- 
serted. These works were advertised for sale in 1769, after 
Stephen Onion's death. The exact date of their erection has 
not been preserved. 

Bush furnace, in Hartford county, and Northampton fur- 
nace, in Baltimore county, were built about 1760, the latter 
by members of the Ridgely family. The proprietors of this 
furnace owned a forge on the Great Gunpowder river, called 
Long Cam forge, which was probably older than the furnace. 
Bush furnace, located on Bush creek, was owned about 1767 
by John Lee Webster. On the Patapsco, near Elkridge Land- 
ing, were Elkridge furnace and forge, pwned by Edward Dor- 
sey ; at a locality not now known was York furnace ; in Anne 
Arundel county were the Patuxent furnace and forge, owned 
by Thomas, Richard, and Edward Snowden. Richard Snow- 
den was the proprietor of " iron works " on the eastern branch 
of the Patuxent as early as 1734. John England, who died 
in that year, had an interest in these works. There was an 
early furnace on Stemmer's run, about seven miles from 
Baltimore. There was also a furnace on Curtis creek, in Pa- 
tapsco county, built by William Goodwin and Edward Dor- 
sey, which remained in operation until 1851. Nottingham 
furnace, in Baltimore, was built before the Revolution. 
. In 1762 RobertE vans, Jonathan Morris, and Benjamin 
Jacobs built Unicorn forge at a place called Nasby, in Queen 
Anne county. The castings for the forge were procured at 
"Bush river furnace," which appears to have been then op- 
erated by Isaac Webster. The firm of Evans, Morris & Ja- 
cobs was not long in existence. 

In Frederick county were several early iron enterprises, 
particulars of which have been preserved by Alexander. Old 
Hampton furnace, on Tom's creek, about two miles west of 
Emmetsburg, was built between 1760 and 1765 by persons 
whose names have not survived. Legh furnace was built 
about the same time by an Englishman named Legh Master, 
at the head of Little Pipe creek, two or three miles southwest 
of Westminster. Both of these furnaces were soon abandon- 
ed. Catoctin furnace, situated about twelve miles northwest 


of Frederick, was built in 1774 by James Johnson & Co. It 
was rebuilt in 1787 by the same company, "about three- 
fourths of a mile further up Little Hunting creek, and nearer 
the ore banks." It was again rebuilt about 1831. This fur- 
nace and two later furnaces of the same name were in blast 
in 1880. The original Catoctin furnace yielded at first from 
twelve to eighteen tons of pig iron weekly. Shortly after its 
erection the same owners erected on Bush creek, about two 
miles above its mouth, the Bush Creek forge, which was in 
operation until 1810, when it was abandoned. About the time 
when Catoctin furnace and Bush Creek forge were built. the 
Johnsons built a rolling and slitting mill at a spot known in 
1840 as Reel's mill. About 1787 they built Johnson furnace 
on a small stream one, mile above the mouth of the Monoc- 
acy. In 1793 the various iron properties belonging to the 
Johnsons were divided, and Johnson furnace fell to Roger 
Johnson, who soon afterwards built a forge in connection with 
the furnace. It was situated on Big Bennett's creek, about 
five miles above its junction with the Monocacy, and was call- 
ed Bloomsburg forge. Its weekly product was between four 
and five tons of finished iron. The furnace and forge were 
abandoned soon after 1800. Fielderea furnace, on the Har- 
per's Ferry road, three miles south of Frederick, was built by 
Fielder Gantt soon after the Revolution, but after making 
one blast it was abandoned. This event occurred before 1791. 
In Washington county there were many iron enterprises 
at an early day, most of which have been noted by Alexan- 
der. In 1770 James Johnson superintended the erection of 
Green Spring furnace, on Green Spring run, one mile above 
its entrance into the Potomac. It was owned by Mr. Jacques 
and Governor Johnson. The neighboring iron ore not being 
of good quality the furnace was abandoned in a few years. 
James Johnson also built Licking Creek forge, at the mouth 
of Licking creek, for the same firm. It was at first supplied 
with pig iron from Green Spring furnace, but was afterwards 
sold to " Mr. Chambers, of Chambersburg, who carried it on 
for several years with pig supplied from his furnace in Penn- 
sylvania." Mount Etna furnace, on a branch of Antietam 
creek, five or six miles north of Hagerstown, was built by 
Samuel and Daniel Hughes about 1770 and was in successful 


operation for many years. During the Revolution -it cast the 
first Maryland cannon. About a mile and a half from the 
furnace, and about four miles from Hagerstown, the same 
owners built Antietam forge, which was in operation after the 
furnace was abandoned. Bishop states that General Thomas 
Johnson and his brother were the owners in May, 1777, of a 
furnace at Frederick, but it was not then in blast. Between 
1775 and 1780 Henderson & Ross built a furnace at the mouth 
of Antietam creek. A forge was built at the same place about 
the same time. There were at least three forges on Antietam 
creek during the last century. In 1845 a new furnace was 
built on the site of the original Antietam furnace, but it has 
recently been dismantled. A small rolling mill, with a nail 
factory attached, was built at the same place about 1831 and 
abandoned about 1853. 

Bishop says that a slitting mill was established at or near 
Baltimore in 1778 by William Whetcroft, and that about the 
same time two nail factories were established in the city, one 
by George Matthews and the other by Richardson Stewart. 
At Elkridge Landing Dr. Howard owned a tilting forge in 
1783. On Deer creek, in Harford county, a forge and slitting 
mill were built during the last century. During the Revolu- 
tion there were seventeen or eighteen forges in operation in 
Maryland, in addition to furnaces and other iron enterprises. 

After the Revolution the iron manufacture of Maryland 
experienced a healthy enlargement, which continued with- 
out serious interruption until in recent years. One of the 
most successful rolling mills in the State was the celebrated 
Avalon iron works, on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, half 
a mile from the Relay House, " built by the Dorseys " about 
1795 and in use down to about 1860. It first made nails and 
bar iron, and in its latter days large quantities of both, but 
afterwards, as early as 1848, it also rolled rails. A rolling mill 
was built on the Big Elk river, five miles north of Elkton, 
in 1810, on the site of copper works which had existed before 
the Revolution. It was active until about 1860, making sheet 
iron chiefly. Octorara forge, and Octorara rolling mill, on 
Octorara creek, above its mouth and a feAv miles north of 
Port Deposit, were built many years ago. The rolling mill is 
still active. This mill and another Maryland rolling mill of 


modern origin are owned by the McCullough Iron Company. 
The once numerous forges of Maryland have gradually given 
place to rolling mills. In 1840 several forges were in opera- 
tion ; in 1856 two forges were active ; and in 1891 there were 
again two forges active, at North East and Principio. 

The development of the iron ores belonging to the coal 
measures of the extreme western part of Maryland appears 
to have been undertaken over fifty years ago. Near the vil- 
lage of Friendsville, on Bear creek, a branch of the Yough- 
iogheny river, there were erected, in 1828 and 1829, the Yo- 
hogany iron works, consisting of a furnace and two forges, to 
use charcoal. These works were abandoned about 1834. In 
1837 a furnace fifty feet high and fourteen and one-half feet 
wide at the boshes was built at Lonaconing, eight miles 
southwest of Frostburg, by the George's Creek Coal and Iron 
Company, to use coke. In June, 1839, it was making about 
seventy tons of good foundry iron per week with coke as fuel. 
Overman claims that this was the first successful coke fur- 
nace in the United States. Two large blast furnaces were 
built in 1840 by the Mount Savage Iron Company, nine miles 
northwest of Cumberland, also to use coke. This enterprise 
was also successful. In 1845 the same company built an ad- 
ditional furnace, but it was never lined. The Mount Savage 
rolling mill was built in 1843, especially to roll iron rails, 
and in 1844 it rolled the first rails rolled in this country 
that were not strap rails. These rails were of the inverted 
U pattern and weighed forty-two pounds to the yard. Alle- 
ghany county, Maryland, is thus entitled to two of the high- 
est honors in connection with the American iron trade. It 
built the first successful coke furnace and it rolled the first 
heavy iron rails. The furnaces and rolling mill of the Mount 
Savage Iron Company have long been abandoned. 

In 1846 a furnace called Lena was built at Cumberland, 
which at first used charcoal and afterwards used coke. It 
was not long in operation. 

Alexander mentions a furnace on the Eastern Shore of 
Maryland, built in 1830 by Mark Richards, about five miles 
from Snow Hill, to use bog ore yielding only 28 per cent, of 
iron. Its annual production about 1834 was 700 tons. In 
1840 the furnace was owned by T. A. Spence. It was called 


Naseongo, and it was the only furnace in the State which 
used bog ore exclusively. A bloomary which used bog ore 
once stood near Federalsburg, but it was abandoned long ago. 
The prominence of Maryland as an iron-producing State 
was relatively much greater in 1870 than in 1880. In the 
former year it was fifth in rank but in the latter year it was 
only twelfth in rank. In 1890 it was the eleventh in rank 
in the production of pig iron, but its rank as a producer of 
rolled iron was still lower. Its production of steel in 1890 
was very small, but the completion in 1891 of the extensive 
Bessemer steel works of the Pennsylvania Steel Company at 
Sparrow's Point will soon place the State in the front rank 
of all the steel-producing States, and the recent completion 
of four large furnaces by the same company will soon ad- 
vance its rank in the production of pig iron. 

A FURNACE was built at Georgetown, in the District of 
Columbia, in 1849. It went out of blast finally about 1855. 
A second stack was built at the same place but was never 
lined, and consequently was never put in blast. Both of these 
were small furnaces. The furnace which was in operation 
used charcoal and was blown with steam-power. Both en- 
terprises were owned by William A. Bradley, of Washington. 
Before 1812 the United States Government built an anchor 
forge at the navy yard at Washington, which was enlarged 
about 1830 and was afterwards used to produce anchors, 
shafts, chains, etc. About the time when this forge was es- 
tablished there was a cannon foundry " about a mile beyond 
Georgetown, on the Potomac river." "A cannon was cast at 
this foundry of 100 Ibs. ball, to which was given the name 
of Columbiad." The District of Columbia had no other iron 
enterprises until 1878, when the Government established a 
small rolling mill at the navy yard, which was, however, 
abandoned in 1887. The forge is still in operation, and con- 
nected with it the Government now has also in operation 
an extensive gun factory, which has been recently fitted up 
with powerful machine tools, immense traveling cranes, and 
other mechanical appliances for manufacturing from forg- 
ings made elsewhere the heaviest as well as the lightest 
ordnance for the new American navy. 



AFTER the failure to make iron on Falling creek in 1622 
no successful effort was made to revive the iron industry in 
Virginia until after the beginning of the succeeding century, 
.a delay of almost a hundred years. As late as 1670 Sir Will- 
iam Berkley reported to the Lords Commissioners of Foreign 
Plantations that but little iron ore had been discovered in 
Virginia up to that time, and he does not mention any iron 
works as then existing in the colony. Additional evidence 
that there was. no iron made in Virginia in the seventeenth 
century is given in a preceding chapter. To Colonel Alex- 
ander Spotswood, who was Governor of Virginia from 1710 
to 1723, the honor of having established the iron industry of 
the colony on a firm and permanent basis is fairly due, al- 
though the exact date of the commencement of his various 
iron enterprises is lost. We are indebted to the researches 
of Mr. R. A. Brock, of Richmond, for the following infor- 
mation concerning the inception of Governor Spotswood's 
schemes to effect a revival of the iron industry in Virginia. 

In the collections of the Virginia Historical Society are 
two MS. volumes of the letters of Governor Spotswood to the 
Lords Commissioners the Council of Trade at London, cover- 
ing the period from 1710 to 1721. On October 24, 1710, the 
Go vernor ' writes : "There is a project to be handed to the 
next assembly for improvement of the iron mines, lately dis- 
covered in this country, the ores of which upon tryall have 
been found to be extraordinary rich and good. It is proposed 
that the work be carried on at publick charge." This scheme 
appears not to have been acted upon by the assembly. On 
December 15, 1710, the Governor writes : " I humbly propose 
to your lordships' consideration whether it might not turn to 
good account if Her Majesty would be pleased to take that 
work [the iron] in her own hands, sending over workmen 
and materials for carrying it on." He states that the " iron 
mines lie at the falls of James river." On January 27, 1714, 


he asks that the German Protestants settled at the head of 
the Rappahannock river, who came over with Baron de Graf- 
fenreidt " in hopes to find out mines/' be exempted from the 
payment of levies for the support of the government. 

In the latter part of 1716 elaborate charges of malfea- 
sance in office were anonymously preferred against Governor 
Spotswood to the Council of Trade, the counts of which are 
numerous. In one of them Governor Spotswood is charged, 
under pretense of guarding the frontiers, with building, at 
the cost of the government, two forts, one at the head of 
James river and another at the head of Rappahannock river, 
only to support his two private interests, at least one of 
which, that on the Rappahannock, related to the manufacture 
of iron. Another account charges the maintenance at public 
cost at these forts of a corps of " rangers " for three years 
ending in December, 1716. The beginning of this period 
would be near that of the German settlement, the members 
of which became the workmen of Governor Spotswood. It 
may be assumed that one of his iron enterprises, the furnace 
built by the Germans, was in operation certainly in 1716 and 
most likely one year earlier. 

But did Governor Spotswood or the Germans acting in- 
dependently of him set on foot the first of these enterprises ? 
This is not clear. In John Esten Cooke's History of the People 
of Virginia it is stated that these Germans, who were Palati- 
nates, had been "sent over by Her Majesty Queen Anne to 
make wine and help in the iron business," and it will be re- 
membered that the Governor in 1710 proposed that the Queen 
should send over workmen and materials for the express pur- 
pose of inaugurating the iron industry in the colony. 

In 1727 the general assembly of Virginia passed " an act 
for encouraging adventurers in iron- works," which begins 
as follows : " Whereas, divers persons have of late expended 
great sums of money in erecting furnaces and other works 
for the making of iron in several parts of the country, . . 
and forasmuch as it is absolutely necessary for roads to be 
laid out and cleaned from all such iron works to convenient 
landings," therefore, etc., etc. 

In A Progress to the Mines, in 1732, by Colonel William 
Byrd, of Westover, Virginia, the second of the name, there is 


given a very full account of the iron enterprises of Virginia 
at that time, embracing three blast furnaces and one air fur- 
nace, but no forge. One of the blast furnaces was at Fred- 
ericksville, a village which has entirely disappeared from the 
maps, but which, as will hereafter appear, was located about 
thirty miles southwest of Frederick sburg, in Spottsylvania 
county, and about one-half mile north of the North Anna 
river. Mr. Chiswell, the furnace manager, told Colonel Byrd 
that the pig iron produced at the furnace was carted in ox 
carts over an uneven road to the Rappahannock river, a mile 
below Fredericksburg. This furnace was built of brick, but 
it had been idle " ever since May, for want of corn to sup- 
port the cattle." Colonel Byrd says : " The fire in the furnace 
is blown by two mighty pair of bellows, that cost 100 each, 
and these bellows are moved by a great wheel of twenty-six 
foot diameter." The owners of the furnace had invested 
about 12,000 in land, negroes, cattle, etc., and had made 
1,200 tons of iron. " When the furnace blows it runs about 
twenty tons a week." Colonel Byrd says that the company 
was formed as follows : " Mr. Fitz Williams took up the mine 
tract, and had the address to draw in the Governor, [Spots- 
wood,] Captain Pearse, Dr. Nicolas, and Mr. Chiswell to be 
jointly concerned with him, by which contrivance he first 
got a good price for the' land, and then, when he had been 
very little out of pocket, sold his share to Mr. Nelson for 
500, and of these gentlemen the company at present con- 
sists. And Mr. Chiswell is the only person amongst them 
that knows anything of the matter." One of the mines at- 
tached to the furnace was fifteen or twenty feet deep, and 
the ore was dislodged by blasting, after which it was carried 
away " in baskets up to the heap." It was calcined before 
being used, layers of charcoal and ore alternating. The lime- 
stone used at the furnace was brought from Bristol, in Eng- 
land, as ballast, and carted from the Rappahannock to the 
furnace by the ox teams which brought down the iron. Col- 
onel Byrd recommended the substitution of oyster shells for 
limestone, but without effect. If this furnace had made only 
1,200 tons of iron as late as 1732, when Colonel Byrd visited 
it, it is evident that it had not been built many years. We 
place the date of its erection at about 1727. 


The next furnace visited by Colonel Byrd was directly 
controlled by Colonel Spotswood, and was situated in Spott- 
sylvania county, about ten miles northwest of Fredericksburg 
and about ten miles east of the small town of*Germanna. This 
last place was situated in Orange county, on the south side 
of the Rapidan, and about ten miles above its junction with 
the Rappahamiock. It had been settled by Germans and 
afterwards abandoned for another location on " land of their 
own, ten miles higher, in the Fork of Rappahannock." This 
furnace, according to Colonel Spotswood, was the first in Vir- 
ginia. It was t built of rough stone, " having been the first 
of that kind erected in the country." The iron made at this 
furnace was carted fifteen miles to Massaponax, on the Rap- 
pahannock, five miles below Fredericksburg, where Colonel 
Spotswood had recently erected an air furnace, which he 
" had now brought to perfection, and should be thereby able 
to furnish the whole country with all sorts of cast iron, as 
cheap and as good as ever came from England." The blast 
furnace " had not blown for several moons, the Colonel hav- 
ing taken off great part of his people to carry on his air 
furnace at Massaponax." The ore at this furnace was also 
blasted with gunpowder. " Here the wheel that carried the 
bellows was no more than twenty feet diameter." "All the 
land hereabouts seems paved with iron ore, so that there 
seems to be enough to feed a furnace for many ages." Col- 
onel Spotswood resided at Germanna at the time of Colonel 
Byrd's visit. 

Colonel Byrd next mentions "England's iron mines, call- 
ed so from the chief manager of them, tho' the land belongs 
to Mr. Washington." These mines, he states, were on the 
north side of the Rappahannock river, twelve miles distant 
from Fredericksburg. Two miles distant from the mines 
was a furnace. " Mr. Washington raises the ore and carts 
it thither for twenty shillings the ton of iron that it yields. 
The furnace is built on a run, which discharges its waters 
into Potomeck. And when the iron is cast they cart it about 
six miles to a landing on that river. Besides Mr. Washing- 
ton and Mr. England there are several other persons in Eng- 
land concerned in these works. Matters are very well man- 
aged there, and no expense is spared to make them profitable, 


which is not the case in the works I have already mentioned." 
This was Accokeek furnace, already referred to in the Mary- 
land chapter. It was situated in Stafford county. The " Mr. 
Washington " referred to was Augustine Washington, the 
father of George Washington. 

Colonel Byrd did not visit Accokeek furnace. He visited 
Colonel Spotswood's air furnace at Massaponax, which he de- 
scribes. It was a very ambitious and creditable enterprise, 
and it appears to have been successfully managed. Colonel 
Spotswood used it " to melt his sow iron, in order to cast it 
into sundry utensils, such as backs for chimneys, andirons, 
fenders, plates for hearths, pots, mortars, rollers for garden- 
ers, skillets, boxes for cart wheels, and many other things. 
And, being cast from the sow iron, are much better than 
those which come from England, which are cast immediately 
from the ore for the most part." " Here are two of these air 
furnaces in one room, that so in case one want repair the 
other may work, they being exactly of the same structure." 
Colonel Spotswood informed Colonel Byrd that Robert Cary, 
of England, was a silent partner of his in all his iron enter- 
prises. In Cooke's History of tJie People of Virginia it is stated 
that in 1760 about 600 tons of iron were smelted at " Spots- 
wood's furnaces," most of which was sent to England. 

Colonel Byrd was the owner of a princely estate, on the 
north bank of the James river, called Westover, where he 
died and was buried. He was born on March 28, 1674, and 
died on August 26, 1744. He was the founder of both Rich- 
mond and Petersburg. Colonel Spotswood died in 1740. 
p Mr. W. H. Adams, of Mineral City, Virginia, has recently 
undertaken an investigation of the exact location of Colonel 
Spotswood's various iron enterprises, and has placed in our 
hands the results of his labors. He locates the furnace built 
by the Germans, and which he calls Rappahannock furnace, 
on a small stream flowing into the Rappahannock river, 
about ten miles above Fredericksburg, and he locates the 
Fredericksville furnace in the southwestern part of Spottsyl- 
vania county. He says that few vestiges of the town of 
Germanna now exist. Its site was on the Rapidan river, in 
Orange county, about twenty miles west of Fredericksburg. 
The Massaponax air furnace he locates on the Rappahannock, 


on a neck of land at the outlet of the Massaponax river, on 
lands now owned by Dr. Morton, and about five miles below 
Fredericksburg. From his description of the location and 
remains of the Rappahannock and Fredericksville furnaces 
we condense the following interesting statement. 

The Rappahannock furnace stood close to the fords of the Rappahan- 
nock river, and on the almost precipitous banks of a small stream which 
was relied on for the necessary power. Considerable grading was done to 
provide for the operation of the furnace, the storage of charcoal, limestone, 
ores, etc. Protected by its isolated position the structures remained in an 
excellent state of preservation. The furnace is almost intact, its cleanly 
cut stone work and auxiliary walls, race, and chambers being about as 
they were left by the last workmen one hundred and sixty years ago. 
A giant black-walnut tree is growing from the mouth of the furnace, bind- 
ing with its roots the heavy walls in place, and closing every aperture 
against the ravages of time. The slag piles, fluxes, coal, and considerable 
amounts of pig iron, found in odd shapes in the cinder beds and the bed 
of the brook ; the dam, of generous extent but faulty construction ; the 
race-way, tail-race, etc., are interesting evidences of this early enterprise. 

The location of the Fredericksville furnace is an isolated one, in the 
southwestern part of Spotteylvania county, off the main line of travel, 
about 30 miles southwest from Fredericksburg, 10 miles from the new 
town of Mineral City, and one-half mile from the North Anna river. 
The exact site of the furnace is just off the main county road from Fred- 
ericksburg to Mineral City. The furnace was placed on a small stream, 
which flowed into the North Anna river. The dam, which was estab- 
lished about 1,000 feet above the furnace ; the race which brought the water 
down to the furnace; the walls of the flume which carried the water to 
the overshot wheel ; and the space for the blowing apparatus are all to 
be seen. The ores, fluxes, charcoal, masonry, etc., are plentiful in the 
great quantity of debris scattered about. It is a matter of regret, however, 
that the furnace itself has been thought of so little account by the owners 
of the land during the past twenty years that no care has been taken of 
the materials used in its construction, and at least half its original height 
has been sacrificed to furnish foundations and chimneys for the cabins of 
the neighborhood. A few of the bricks, unique in their shape and weight, 
and evidently brought from some foreign land, are still in the ruins of the 
furnace. About 10 feet of the stack are yet standing. 

The connection of the Washington family with the iron 
industry of Virginia and Maryland justifies further reference 
to the Accokeek furnace. Custis, in his Recollections, relates 
that Augustine Washington, after the burning of his house in 
Westmoreland, removed to a situation near Fredericksburg, 
on the Rappahannock, where he became connected with the 
Phncipio Company. Colonel Byrd has partly explained the 


nature of this connection, and in the Maryland chapter it is 
still further explained. In 1750 Accokeek furnace sent to 
England 410 tons of pig iron, which was about one-sixth of 
the quantity exported from Maryland and Virginia in that 
year. Augustine Washington, at his death in 1743, left the 
estate afterwards known as Mount Vernon and his interest in 
all the possessions of the Principio Company to his son Lawrence, 
an elder half-brother of George Washington. Lawrence died 
in 1752. Mr. Whiteley says that Augustine Washington's in- 
terest in the Principio Company at his death was one-twelfth. 
He had probably exchanged for this interest his shares in the 
Accokeek property, which will hereafter be explained. 

We have examined the will of Lawrence Washington, of 
Fairfax county, Virginia, as it is recorded in Albert Welles's 
History of the Washington Family. It is dated June 20, 1752. 
We make the following literal extract : " I give and bequeath 
to my daughter Sarah, . . after my just debts are dis- 
charged, all my real and personal estate in Virginia and the 
Province of Maryland, not otherwise disposed of. But in 
case it should please God my said daughter should die with- 
out issue, it is then my will and desire that my estate, both 
real and personal, be disposed of in the following manner. 
First. I give and bequeath unto my loving brother Augus- 
tine Washington and his heirs forever all my stock, interest, 
and estate in the Principio, Accokeek, Kingsbury, Laconshire, 
& No. East iron works, in Virginia and Maryland, reserving 
one-third of the profits of the said works to be paid my wife 
as hereafter mentioned." George Washington was one of the 
executors of the will. Sarah did not long survive her father, 
and upon her death Augustine Washington succeeded to the 
ownership of his iron interests and George Washington suc- 
ceeded to the ownership of Mount Vernon. Mr. Whiteley 
says that Accokeek furnace was abandoned soon after Law- 
rence Washington's death, owing to the failure of a supply 
of ore within a reasonable distance. In 1753 the slaves, hor- 
ses, cattle, and wagons were sold, and affairs were gradually 
closed up until nothing but the real estate was left, of which 
Augustine Washington probably afterwards became sole own- 
er. But he continued to retain an interest in the Principio 
Company's other iron enterprises until the Revolution, dur- 


ing which they passed into new hands. Mr. Whiteley also 
says that it was at the solicitation of Augustine Washing- 
ton, " in behalf of himself and other adventurers in iron 
works/' that in 1757 the Virginia Council remitted the port 
duties and fees on pig and bar iron imported into that prov- 
ince from Maryland. 

Before parting with the Washington family we will here 
refer to a well-preserved deed which is now in the posses- 
sion of the Maryland Historical Society. This deed, which 
was executed on March 2, 1729, recites that on July 24, 1726, 
Augustine Washington " did demise, grant, bargain, and sell 
unto " John England as trustee " the said Augustine Wash- 
ington's plantation and lands situate, lying, and being at 
Accokeek run in Stafford county in Virginia, . . contain- 
ing by estimation one thousand six hundred acres, or there- 
abouts, together with all the soil thereof, with all manner of 
iron mines and iron oar . . within the limits of the said 
plantation, together also with all and singular the woods, 
trees, rivers," etc. "And the said Augustine Washington did 
by the said verited lease grant unto the said John England 
the full right and authority to cutt and make any shafts, 
pitts, or devoids upon the said lands, to open or draw any of 
the mines, oars, and mineralls aforesaid," and "to refine, 
mill, and manufacture the oars and mineralls aforesaid, and 
to set up any furnaces, buildings, or engines upon the said 
land or any part thereof." 

In consideration of these grants to John England, which 
were confirmed to the Principio Company by the deed from 
which we have above quoted, and which it was to hold for a 
thousand years, Augustine Washington was to receive " the 
yearly rent of one ear of corn if demanded " and a two- 
twelfths interest in the lands conveyed and in the furnace 
and other improvements which should be made upon them, 
the whole ownership to be divided as follows : Walter Chet- 
wynd, two-twelfths ; William Chetwynd, two-twelfths ; Joshua 
Gee, one-twelfth ; William Russell, one-twelfth ; Thomas Rus- 
sell, one-twelfth ; John Wightwick, two-twelfths ; Augustine 
Washington, two-twelfths; and John England, one-twelfth. 
The instrument from which we have quoted recites that 
" since the making of the said lease," on July 24, 1726, " the 


said John England hath on the said premises erected an iron 
furnace, dam, and other works and buildings for the rosting 
of iron." The instrument further recites that the lease of 
July 24, 1726, is recorded in folios 524 to 529 of Book No. 1 
of the court of Stafford county, session of June 10, 1728. 
And it further says that "the said John England, for and on 
account of the said works, . . hath purchased and taken 
in fee, or for years, or some other estate, several other par- 
cells of land in Virginia aforesaid, amounting in the whole 
to one thousand five hundred acres or thereabouts." 

Mr. Brock writes us that, in Hening's Statutes, volume IX., 
there is "an act for the encouragement of iron works," 
passed in May, 1777, which recites that, " Whereas, the dis- 
covery and manufacturing of iron ore requisite for the fabri- 
cating the various implements of husbandry, small arms, in- 
trenching tools, anchors, and other things necessary for the 
army and navy, is at this time essential to the welfare and 
existence of this State, as the usual supplies of pig and bar 
iron from foreign States is rendered difficult and uncertain, 
and James Hunter, near Fredericksburg, hath erected and is 
now carrying on, at considerable expense and labour, many 
extensive factories, slitting, plating, and wire mills, and is 
greatly retarded through the want of pig and bar iron; and 
whereas, there is a certain tract of land in the county of Staf- 
ford, called or known by the name of Accokeek furnace tract, 
on which a furnace for the making of pig iron was formerly 
erected and carried on, which has been since discontinued," 
etc., etc., James Hunter is therefore authorized to enter upon 
two hundred acres of the Accokeek tract, including the old 
furnace, if its owners or agents should fail in one month to 
begin and within six months to erect thereon a furnace equal 
to or larger than the former one, and prosecute the same for 
the making of pig iron and other castings. We think that 
this proposed new furnace was never built, as it is not re- 
ferred to in Thomas Jefferson's Notes on the State of Virginia, 
to be quoted from hereafter, while " a forge of Mr. Hunter's, 
at Fredericksburg," is distinctly noted by Jefferson. 

Mr. Chiswell told Colonel Byrd that "we had as yet no 
forge erected in Virginia, tho' we had four furnaces. But 
there was a very good one set up at the head of the bay in 


Maryland, that made exceeding good work." The forge re- 
ferred to was doubtless the one at Principle, the North East 
forge not having been built until about 1735. Colonel Spots- 
wood told Colonel Byrd that " he was not only the first in this 
country, but the first in North America, who had erected a 
regular furnace ; that they ran altogether upon bloomerys in 
New England and Pennsylvania till his example had made 
them attempt greater works." This statement is correct only 
so far as it relates to the manufacture of pig iron exclusively 
and not castings. By the phrase, "a regular furnace," Colonel 
Spots wood meant a furnace which was built expressly to 
make pig iron. Colonel Byrd's statement, that the furnace 
near Germanna was the first furnace in the country that was 
" built of rough stone," is not correct. 

In the Valley of Virginia many furnaces and forges were 
built before the Revolution and others were built before the 
close of the last century. Zane's furnace and forge, on Cedar 
creek, in Frederick county, were " built before any iron works 
in this region." Pine forge, in Shenandoah county, three and 
a half miles north of New Market, was built at an early day. 
Isabella furnace, on Hawksbill creek, near Luray, in Page 
county, was built about 1760. About 1775 a furnace was built 
on Mossy creek, Augusta county, by Henry Miller and Mark 
Bird, of Berks county, Pennsylvania. Bird soon sold his in- 
terest to Miller. A forge was soon added to this furnace. 

Union forge, near Waynesborough, in Augusta county, 
was built about 1800. In Rockbridge county were two for- 
ges, built about 1800 Gibraltar forge, on North river, nine 
miles north of Lexington, and Buffalo forge, on Buffalo creek, 
the same distance south of Lexington. Moore's furnace, on 
Steele's creek, in this 'county, and a furnace on Smith's creek, 
in Rockingham county, were built before 1800. 

A furnace was built in Loud on county before 1800, con- 
cerning which Bishop states that Mr. Clapham, its owner, 
" cut a canal through the end of Cotocktin mountain, 500 feet 
through solid rock and 60 feet beneath the surface, to obtain 
water for his furnace and mill." 

Iron works were erected in Craig, Grayson, Wythe, Wash- 
ington, Carroll, and other southwestern counties before the 
close of the last century. A forge on Chestnut creek, in Car- 


roll county, was built about 1790, and another on Little Reed 
Island creek was built about the same time. Poplar Camp 
furnace, on Poplar Camp creek, in Wythe county, appears to 
have been built in 1778, as a stone bearing that date and 
identified with the furnace is still preserved. A few of the 
old charcoal furnaces that are still in existence in South west- 
ern Virginia retain all their primitive characteristics. They 
are blown by water-power with wooden " tubs," are placed 
against a bank of the same level as the tunnel-head, have a 
cold blast, and are operated by "the rule of thumb." The 
stacks are built of stone. But even in Southwestern Virginia 
modern methods are now obtaining full recognition. 

Bishop says that an excellent " air furnace " was built at 
Westham, six miles above Richmond, on the north side of the 
James river, during the Revolution ; there was also a cannon 
foundry here at the same period. The "air furnace" is said 
to have used bituminous coal, from the mines of Chesterfield 
county, in the manufacture of shot and shells for the Conti- 
nental army. Benedict Arnold destroyed the works at West- 
ham in 1781. A rolling and slitting mill was afterwards 
built at this place. 

At Lynchburg and its vicinity, in the James River valley, 
several furnaces and forges were built in the last century, 
some of which are referred to in the following extract from 
Jefferson's Notes on the State of Virginia, written in 1781 and 
1782 but not printed until 1788. 

The mines of iron worked at present are Callaway's, Eoss's, and Bal- 
lendine's on the south side of James river ; Old's on the north side, in Al- 
bemarle ; Millar's in Augusta ; and Zane's in Frederick. These two last are 
in the valley between the Blue ridge and North mountain. Callaway's, 
Ross's, Millar's, and Zane's make about 150 tons of bar iron each in the 
year. Ross's makes also about 1,600 tons of pig iron annually; Ballen- 
dine's, 1,000 ; Callaway's, Millar's, and Zane's, about 600 each. Besides 
these, a forge of Mr. Hunter's, at Fredericksburg, makes about 300 tons a 
year of bar iron, from pigs imported from Maryland; and Taylor's forge, 
on Neapsco of Patowmac, works in the same way, but to what extent I am 
not informed. The indications of iron in other places are numerous, and 
dispersed through all the middle country. The toughness of the cast iron 
of Ross's and Zane's furnaces is very remarkable. Pots and other uten- 
sils cast thinner than usual, of this iron, may be safely thrown into or out 
of the wagons in which they are transported. Salt-pans made of the same, 
and no longer wanted for that purpose, cannot be broken up, in order to be 
melted again, unless previously drilled in many parts. 


This account by Jefferson seems to establish the fact that 
the iron industry of Virginia was not very extensive about 
the close of the Revolution. Ross's works were on Beaver 
creek, seven miles southeast of Lynchburg, and Thomas Cal- 
la way's were near Rocky Mount, or Franklin court-house. 
Lesley mentions Saunders's furnace at the latter place as hav- 
ing been abandoned about 1800. Henry Miller's works were 
near the northern boundary of Augusta county, " at the foot 
of North mountain." In 1777 Old's furnace was referred to 
in the Virginia legislature as an " old furnace " that was " yet 
standing, tho' somewhat out of repair," but it was proposed 
to put it in blast, to aid by its product in accomplishing the 
independence of the colonies. This proposition took the form 
of a resolution appropriating a loan of X2,000 to one of the 
proprietors. The furnace was then said to have been owned 
by Messrs. Old, Wilkinson & Trent, and Wilkinson was the 
partner to be benefited by the loan from the Virginia treas- 
ury. The furnace appears to have been promptly put in blast, 
as Jefferson says that the mines belonging to this furnace 
were " worked " when his Notes were written. The furnace 
was located about twelve miles from Charlottesville. 

About 1790 the iron industry of Virginia took a fresh 
start, as did many other industries of the State. No State in 
the Union gave more attention to domestic manufactures af- 
ter the close of the Revolution than Virginia. This activity 
continued for many years, but it was partly checked in sub- 
sequent years by the greater attention given by the people 
of Virginia to agricultural pursuits. Richmond, Lynchburg, 
Staunton, Winchester, and some other places became noted 
for the extent and variety of their manufactures. Household 
manufactures were everywhere promoted. The manufacture 
of nails was one of these household industries. Thomas Jef- 
ferson required about a dozen of the younger slaves owned 
by him to make nails, and it is said that " they made about 
a ton of nails a month at a considerable profit." The Gov- 
ernment armory at Harper's Ferry was established in 1798. 

Lesley enumerates no less than eighty-eight charcoal fur- 
naces and fifty-nine forges and bloomaries as having been 
built in Virginia prior to 1856; also twelve rolling mills. 
Several of these enterprises were within the limits of the 


present State of West Virginia. The furnaces were located in 
thirty-one counties and the forges in twenty-five counties. 

The first rolling mill of any kind west of the Allegheny 
mountains and outside of Pennsylvania of which we can ob- 
tain exact information was located in West Virginia, and is 
described in Cramer's Pittsburgh Almanack for 1813, issued in 
1812, as follows : " Jackson & Updegraff, on Cheat river, have 
in operation a furnace, forge, rolling and slitting mill, and 
nail factory nails handsome, iron tough." Like all the 
rolling and slitting mills of that day the Cheat river mill 
did not puddle iron nor roll bar iron, but rolled only sheet 
iron for salt pans, domestic utensils, and nail plates from 
blooms made in forges. Hon. James Veech informed us in 
his lifetime that the location of the Cheat river mill was on 
the road from Uniontown to Morgantown, about three miles 
south of the Pennsylvania State line and eight miles north of 
Morgantown. It was in Monongalia county. 

In the old days before the civil war Wheeling was the 
centre of the rolling-mill industry of Virginia, having seven 
of the twelve rolling mills in the State. Of the remaining 
five mills four were in Richmond and one was on Reed creek, 
in Wythe county, twelve miles east of Wytheville. Since the 
war a few new rolling mills have been built in the old State 
of Virginia and new mills and steel works have been built at 
Wheeling. The first rolling mill at Wheeling was built in 
1832 by Dr. Peter Shoenberger and David Agnew, both Penn- 
sylvania ironmasters. This mill was called the Wheeling 
iron works, and the firm was styled Shoenberger & Agnew. 
The most prominent nail-manufacturing district in the Uni- 
ted States at the present time is the Wheeling district, which 
includes the nail factories in West Virginia and in that part 
of Ohio which lies near Wheeling. 

The works of the Tredegar Iron Company at Richmond, 
Virginia, are among the most notable of their kind in the 
United States. They were founded in 1836 by the late 
Francis B. Deane, and embrace a large rolling mill, an exten- 
sive foundry and machine shop, and a large car factory. 
During the civil war these works were a tower of strength 
to the Southern Confederacy, manufacturing cannon, -cannon 
balls, and other munitions of war in large quantities down 


to the evacuation of Richmond in April, 1865. Prior to the 
war, however, they had achieved a national reputation. The 
United States steam frigates Roanoke and Colorado and the 
United States revenue cutter James K. Polk were furnished ' 
with engines, boilers, and guns from these works. Nearly all 
the machinery of the Tredegar works is driven by water- 
power from the James river. 

A large number of the furnaces and forges of Virginia 
were abandoned before 1850. In 1856 there were thirty-nine 
charcoal furnaces and forty-three forges enumerated by Les- 
ley as being then in operation or prepared to make iron. 
Since 1856 many of the charcoal furnaces and nearly all 
the forges that were then in existence have been abandoned. 
Insufficient transportation facilities, coupled with the failure 
of ore in certain localities, have had much to do with the 
abandonment of many charcoal furnaces in Virginia, while 
the disappearance of the forges is due to the competition of 
rolling mills. Of late years, however, the extension of rail- 
roads and the discovery of new and valuable ore deposits 
have given -a fresh impetus to the manufacture of pig iron 
in Virginia and West Virginia, much of which is made with 
coke obtained in the now celebrated Pocahontas Flat Top 
coal region, which is found in both Virginia and West Vir- 
ginia. The future of the iron industry of these two States 
is to-day very promising. The young State took higher rank 
in both 1870 and 1880 among iron-producing States than 
the old State. It ranked tenth in 1870 and seventh in 1880 ; 
whereas Virginia ranked thirteenth in 1870 and sixteenth in 
1880. Since 1880, however, the old State has made remark- 
able progress in the erection of large blast furnaces to use 
coke as fuel. Some of the best furnaces in the country are 
now to be found in Virginia. Its total production of pig 
iron in 1880 was only 26,726 gross tons, but in 1883 it was 
136,524 tons, and in 1890 it was 292,779 tons. In 1890 
Virginia ranked sixth among the States in the production 
of pig iron. In the same year West Virginia ranked fourth 
in the production of steel but was twelfth in the production 
of pig iron. The early iron history of West Virginia is so 
closely interwoven with that of Virginia that we could not 
devote to it a separate chapter. 



SCRIVENOR says that in 1728-29 there were imported into 
England from " Carolina" one ton and one cwt. of pig iron, 
and that in 1734 there were imported two qrs. and twelve Ibs. 
of bar iron. Shipments of pig iron and bar iron from " Caro- 
lina" were made in subsequent years prior to the Revolution. 
We regret that we can not lo,cate the first iron enterprises in 
this State. Some future antiquarian may be able to do this. 
They were probably situated near the coast, in the neighbor- 
hood of bog-ore deposits. It is a curious fact that hoes made 
in Virginia and " Carolina " were sold in New York long be- 
fore the Revolution. 

Bishop says that several iron works were in operation in 
North Carolina before the Revolution, some of which were 
put out of blast by that event. They were situated on tribu- 
taries of the Cape Fear, Yadkin, and Dan rivers. When the 
shadow of the approaching conflict with the mother country 
reached North Carolina her patriotic citizens, first in conven- 
tion at New Berne and afterwards in the provincial legisla- 
ture, encouraged by the offer of liberal premiums the manu- 
facture of crude and finished iron and steel, as well as other 
manufactured products. " John Wilcox was the proprietor of 
a furnace and iron works on Deep run in the beginning of 
the war. There were also iron works in Guilford county, 
probably on the same stream. In April, 1776, the provincial 
congress sent commissioners to treat with Mr. Wilcox for the 
use of his furnace and works for two years, or to purchase 
and repair those in Guilford, for casting ordnance, shot, etc., 
and empowered them to draw on the treasury for 5,000 for 
that purpose." Troublesome forge, in Guilford county, was in 
operation during the Revolution. Buffalo Creek furnace and 
forge were also built before the Revolution on Buffalo creek, 
in Cleveland county, not far from King's mountain, on the 
southern border of the State. 

Prior to 1800 there wpre in operation in Lincoln county 


two bloomaries, four forges, and two furnaces. One of the 
furnaces, Vesuvius, on Anderson's creek, built in 1780, was in 
operation down to 1873. Of other iron enterprises established 
in North Carolina in the last century we gather from Lesley 
and Bishop, and from Dr. William Sharswood, a local histo- 
rian, of Danbury, North Carolina, the following information : 
Union bloomary forge, on Snow creek, in Stokes county, six 
miles northeast of Danbury, was built in 1780 by Peter Per- 
kins and James Martin. Other iron works were built on 
Snow creek, in the same county, and conducted with spirit 
before 1800. Dr. Sharswood mentions a furnace and forge on 
this creek which were built by Peter Perkins and James Tay- 
lor about 1795 : they were located about half a mile from the 
mouth of the creek. Davis's mill now stands on the site of 
the furnace. He also says that Matthew Moore built a forge 
on Big creek, where George's mill now stands, before 1800. 
Riser's bloomary forge, on the headwaters of Town fork, in 
the same county, ten miles southwest of Danbury, was built 
in 1796 by George Hauser and Philip Kiser. Hill's bloomary 
forge, on Tom's creek, in Surry county, nineteen miles west 
of Danbury, was built in 1791. In the same county, near the 
Yadkin, iron works were erected a few years after the Revo- 
lution, probably by Moravians from Pennsylvania, who had 
settled in the county as early as 1753. In Wilkes county a 
forge was built about the same time. A furnace and forge 
were erected on Troublesome creek, in Rockingham county, 
at an early day. In Burke county, at the foot of the Blue 
ridge, two bloomaries and two forges were erected before the 
close of the last century. -^ 

After 1800 the iron industry of North Carolina was still 
further developed. This development was, however, mainly 
confined to the manufacture of bar iron in bloomaries, the 
magnetic and hematite ores of North Carolina being well 
adapted to this mode of treatment. In 1810, according to 
Tench Coxe, there were six bloomaries, two rolling and slit- 
ting mills, and tw r o naileries in Lincoln county ; one bloom- 
ary in Iredell county ; six bloomaries and one trip-hammer 
in Burke county ; and five bloomaries in Surry county 
eighteen bloomaries in all. In 1856 Lesley enumerated about 
forty bloomaries and a few forges, most of which were then v 


in operation. They were located in Stokes, Surry, Yadkin, 
Catawba, Lincoln, Gaston, Cleveland, Ashe, Watauga, Ruther- 
ford, and Cherokee counties. The trompe was in general use. 
He also described six furnaces : Vesuvius, already referred to ; 
Madison, on. Leiper's creek, in Lincoln county, built in 1810 ; 
Rehoboth, on the same creek and in the same county, built 
in 1810 ; Columbia, seven miles west of High Shoals, in Gas- 
ton county, then in ruins ; Tom's Creek, near Hill's forge, 
1 on Tom's creek, destroyed by a flood in 1850 ; Buffalo Creek, 
already referred to, and then in ruins. Vesuvius, Madison, 
and Rehoboth were blown with wooden "tubs." There was 
also active at this date a small rolling mill on Crowder's 
creek, in Gaston county, a mile and a quarter north of King's 
mountain, owned by Benjamin F. Briggs, of Yorkville, South 
Carolina, and built in 1853. At the same time another small 
rolling mill and forge, known as High Shoals iron works, and 
situated in Gaston county, were in ruins. 

There have been other early iron works in North Carolina 
than those mentioned by Lesley or the other authorities from 
whom we have quoted. A furnace called Washington is said 
to have been built in Gaston county in 1788. Iron was made 
in a bloomary near the line of Nash and Wilson counties in 
the war of 1812, and during the civil war iron was made in 
a blast furnace in the same locality. About 1840 there was a 
furnace called Shuford in Catawba county, and at the same 
period there was a furnace called Beard's on the Catawba 
river, probably in Catawba county. Iron was also made about 
the same time on Gunpowder creek, in Caldwell county, prob- 
ably in a bloomary. 

In the census year 1840 there were eight furnaces in North 
Carolina, which produced in that year 968 gross tons of cast 
iron, including both pig iron and castings, and forty-three 
bloomaries, forges, and rolling mills, which produced 963 tons 
of bar iron. 

In Mitchell county, in the northwestern part of the State, 
and within a few miles of the Tennessee line, there exists an 
extensive deposit of iron ore known as the Cranberry mines, 
the deposit taking its name from Cranberry creek, which flows 
at the foot of the steep mountain spurs in which the ore is 
found. This ore is a pure magnetite, and is practically free 


from sulphur and phosphorus. This valuable deposit has 
been in part developed by Northern capital. The Cranberry 
Iron Company has shipped some ore to distant furnaces, and 
it has also built at the mines a small charcoal furnace which 
was put in blast in the spring of 1884. Cranberry ore was 
long worked in bloomaries in the neighborhood. 

At least three furnaces were built in North Carolina dur- 
ing the civil war, one in Chatham county, another in Lincoln 
county, and another, already referred to, on the line of Nash 
and Wilson counties. Two furnaces were built in Chatham 
county after the war, but of these five furnaces, and Vesuvius, 
Madison, and Rehoboth, all of which were lately standing, as 
may have been one or two other furnaces, not one made a 
pound of iron from 1877 until 1881. In that year Rehoboth 
furnace was in operation, and in 1882 it was still active, but 
in 1883 it was silent and it has since been idle. In 1890 it 
was reported as having been abandoned. The furnace built 
in Lincoln county during the war was named Stonewall. 

Nearly all of the iron works that have been referred to 
have been built in the western part of North Carolina. Of 
the long list of bloomaries and forges which this State could 
once boast only two bloomaries in Mitchell and Surry counties 
have recently been active, and we are informed that neither 
of these is likely to be operated again. Of all the furnaces 
that North Carolina once possessed only Cranberry furnace 
has been active in late years, and it is a comparatively new 
furnace. There is not to-day a rolling mill or steel works 
in the State. 



IF the iron industry of North Carolina has rapidly de- 
clined in late years that of South Carolina has suffered even 
a worse fate ; it has been an extinct industry for many years. 
Yet this State made some iron as early as the Revolutionary 
period, and subsequently it made iron in considerable quan- 
tities. In the northwestern part of South Carolina, including 
the counties of Union, Spartanburg, and York, are valuable 
deposits of magnetic ores, and here, according to Dr. Ramsay, 
the historian of South Carolina, the first iron works in the 
State were erected by Mr. Bufnngton in 1773, but they were 
destroyed by the Tories during the Revolution. 

At the beginning of the Revolution South Carolina fol- 
lowed the example of many other colonies by offering lib- 
eral premiums to those who would establish iron works, but 
we do not learn that the manufacture of iron was thereby 
increased. Mr. Buffington's experience probably deterred oth- 
ers from embarking in the business. 

Several furnaces and forges were erected in this State a 
few years after the peace, the principal of which were the Era 
and Etna furnaces and forges in York county. The Era was 
built in 1787 and the Etna in 1788. These enterprises were 
situated on a creek flowing into the Catawba river and about 
two miles west of it. In 1795 the nearest landing to these 
works was at Camden, seventy miles below. They were on 
the road leading from Charlotte, in North Carolina, to York- 
ville. Iron ore was abundant in the neighborhood, and was 
easily smelted after having been roasted. "It was obtained, 
massive, in such quantity above the surface that it was 
thought there would be no occasion to resort to shafts or 
levels for half a century." William Hill was one of the prin- 
cipal owners of the works. He is said to have devised " a 
new blowing apparatus," by the aid of which he contrived to 
blow " all the fires, both of the forges and furnaces, so as to 
render unnecessary the use of wheels, cylinders, or any other 


kind of bellows." This apparatus was doubtless the trompe, 
or water-blast, but Mr. Hill did not invent it, nor was he the 
first in this country to use it. The statement, which Bishop 
quotes from some unknown authority, is, however, valuable, 
as it contains one of the few references to the use of the 
trompe in this country in blowing a blast furnace that have 
come under our notice. Bishop says that other iron works 
soon followed those of Mr. Hill, and that " they were erected 
in different places, including several in the mountain district 
of Washington, where iron, the only article made for sale to 
any extent, was manufactured at the beginning of this cent- 
ury as cheap and good as the imported." 

Tench Coxe enumerates two bloomaries in Spartanburg 
county in 1810, four in Pendleton county, two in Greenville 
county, and one in York county nine in all. He also men- 
tions one small nailery and one small steel furnace in the 
S^ate. He makes no reference to blast furnaces, but his sta- 
tistics were probably not complete. 

Scrivenor mentions the following enterprises in South 
Carolina as existing apparently about 1815, but the source 
of his information we have been unable to discover. " On 
Allison's creek, in York district, there are a forge, a furnace, 
a rolling mill for making sheet iron, and a nail manufactory. 
On Middle Tiger river are iron works on a small scale ; also 
on the Enoree river and Rudy river, on the north fork of 
Saluda river, on George's creek, and on Twenty-six mile 
creek. In 1802 an air furnace was erected on a neck of land 
between Cooper and Ashley rivers, where gjood castings are 
made." York district is the same as York county, the sub- 
divisions of South Carolina having been known as districts 
down to 1868. 

In the census year 1840 there were four furnaces in South 
Carolina, which produced in that year 1,250 gross tons of 
castings and pig iron, and nine bloomaries, forges, and roll- 
ing mills, which produced 1,165 tons of bar iron. 

In 1856 South Carolina had eight furnaces one in York, 
one in Union, and six in Spartanburg county. They are de- 
scribed by Lesley. Four of these furnaces were then in oper- 
ation, producing in the year named 1,506 tons of charcoal 
iron, but three others had been " out of repair for twenty 


years," and the remaining furnace had been abandoned. In 
1856 there were also three small rolling mills in the State- 
one on Pacolet river, in Spartanburg county; one on Broad 
river, in Union county ; and one on the same river, in York 
county. At the first two of these mills dry wood was used in 
the puddling and heating furnaces. In 1856 the three mills 
made 1,210 tons of bar iron and nails. In the same year 
there were also in South Carolina two " bloomaries," one con- 
nected with the rolling mill in Union county and the other 
connected with the rolling mill in York county. Their joint 
product was 640 tons of blooms. Strictly speaking these 
" bloomaries " were forges, as they doubtless used pig iron. 

But South Carolina no longer makes iron. Every iron- 
producing establishment in the State is to-day silent and 
has been silent for many years, and all are in a more or 
less dilapidated condition. South Carolina and Vermont 
furnish the only instances in the history of the country *f 
States having wholly abandoned the manufacture of iron. 



GEORGIA is the last of the original thirteen colonies whose 
iron history remains to be noticed. Unlike its sister colonies, 
however, Georgia has no colonial iron history. It was the 
last of the thirteen to be settled, and it was not until within 
a few years of the commencement of the Revolutionary strug- 
gle that the few settlements on the coast began to experience 
even moderate prosperity. After the close of the Revolution 
the settlement of the interior was for many years retarded 
by difficulties with the Indians, and it was not until 1838 
that the Cherokees were induced to surrender their claims to 
& portion of the territory of the State. It will be seen that, 
under the circumstances which have been mentioned, the 
manufacture of iron in Georgia was destined to be the result 
of comparatively modern enterprise. 

In 1810 there was a bloomary in Warren county, a forge 
in Elbert county, and a nailery in Chatham county. Two 
of these enterprises were near the Atlantic coast, and were 
doubtless among the first of their kind in the State, dating 
probably from about 1790. The coast sections of Georgia 
did not possess ample resources for the manufacture of iron. 
No iron industry exists there to-day. Sequee bloomary forge, 
three miles south of Clarkesville, in Habersham county, was 
built about 1830 and abandoned about 1835. Hodge's 'forge, 
in the same county, was probably built at an earlier date. 
Lesley says of it : " Situation unknown ; history unknown ; 
abandoned very long ago." 

Bloomary forges in Cass county, now Bartow county, were 
built as follows : Etowah, No. 1, in 1838 ; Etowah, No. 2, in 
1841 ; Allatoona, about 1846. Ivy Log bloomary, in Union 
county, was built about 1839. Aliculsie bloomary, in Murray 
county, was built about 1843. A bloomary was built on Ar- 
muchy creek, in Walker county, about 1848. Lookout bloom- 
ary, in Dade county, was built at an earlier day. All these 
enterprises were abandoned before 1856, in which year, how- 


ever, several other bloomaries of more recent origin were in 
operation. In 1880 only two bloomaries in the State were 
reported to be in use. One forge, at Allatoona, made blooms 
from scrap iron in that year. In 1890 there was neither a 
forge nor a bloomary in Georgia that was active. 

The first furnace in Georgia of which we have any infor- 
mation was Sequee furnace, near Clarkesville, in Habersham 
county, built prior to 1832 and abandoned in 1837. Etowah 
furnace, on Stamp creek, in Cass county, now Bartow county, 
was built in 1837, abandoned in 1844, and torn down in 1850. 
A new furnace, built by its side in 1844, is now in ruins. Al- 
latoona furnace, in Cass county, built in 1844 ; Union furnace, 
in the same county, built in 1852 ; Lewis furnace, in the same 
county, built about 1847 ; and Cartersville furnace, in the 
same county, built in 1852, have all been abandoned. Clear 
Creek furnace, in Walker county, built about 1852 and rebuilt 
in 1857, has also been abandoned. All these were charcoal 
furnaces. . Of the furnaces existing in Georgia in 1880 Bartow 
county contained five charcoal furnaces and two coke furna- 
ces seven in all. Of these the two Bear Mountain charcoal 
furnaces, built in 1842, were the oldest. Four other furnaces 
in the State were situated in Polk, Floyd, and Dade counties 
two in Polk and one in Floyd using charcoal and one in 
Dade using coke. Of the eleven furnaces in the State in 
1880, some of which were not then active, several have since 
been torn down or abandoned. Two new charcoal furnaces 
have recently been built one at Tallapoosa, blown in in 1890, 
and one at Rome, blown in in 1891. Rising Fawn furnace, in 
Dade Bounty, is 65 feet high by 17 feet wide, and was the 
first furnace in the United States to use the Whitwell hot- 
blast stove, blowing in for the first time on June 18, 1875. 
In 1891 there were six furnaces in Georgia, two of which 
used coke as fuel, three used charcoal, and one was built to 
use either coke or charcoal. 

Georgia had two rolling mills in 1859 Etowah, in Cass 
county, built about 1849, and Gate City, at Atlanta, built in 
1858. It is a curious fact that this State had just two rolling 
mills twenty-one years later, in 1880 Atlanta, built in 1865, 
and Rome, built in 1869. The latter had been idle for sev- 
eral years prior to 1880 and has since been dismantled. The 


Atlanta rolling mill was burned on September 21, 1881, and 
not rebuilt. There is now only one rolling mill in the State, 
a new mill at Rome, built in 1889 partly to roll cotton-ties. 

In 1859 Lesley thus describes the Etowah rolling mill and 
its blast furnace and other connections, located on the Etowah 
river : " This property has been building up and developing 
for twelve years. On it there has been expended $250,000. 
It contains a rolling mill, nail and spike factory, and all 
necessary apparatus; a blast furnace and foundry, with full 
equipment ; a wheat mill (150 to 250 bushels per day), ware- 
house, cooper-house, hotel, and operative houses, two corn 
grist mills, two saw mills, and a coal mine ; all using not 
one-tenth of the water-power on the premises. River (BOO feet 
wide. Iron ore and wood are abundant. It is on the met- 
amorphic rocks of the gold and copper belt, both minerals 
being found on it," etc. The Etowah Iron Company has re- 
cently purchased this property and is making preparations 
to develop its iron-ore deposits. 

From the foregoing summary it will be seen that the iron 
industry of Georgia is not now so prominent as in former 
years. There does not seem to be any reason why it should 
not in the next ten or twenty years become much more act- 
ive than it now is or ever has been. 



THE first iron enterprise in Kentucky whose history has 
been preserved was Bourbon furnace, often called Slate fur- 
nace, which was built in 1791 on Slate creek, a branch of 
Licking river, in Bath county, then Bourbon, and about two 
miles southeast of Owingsville. This is also the only furnace 
in Kentucky which has a history that can be traced back to 
the last century. In his Notes on the State of Virginia Jefferson 
says that there were iron mines " on Kentucky, between the 
Cumberland and Barren rivers," and also " between Cumber- 
land and Tanissee." This was written before the close of the 
Revolution. The whole of Jefferson's reference to western 
iron mines is as follows : 

In the western country we are told of iron mines between the Mus- 
kingum and Ohio ; of others on Kentucky, between the Cumberland and 
Barren rivers, between Cumberland and Tanissee, on Reedy creek, near the 
Long island, and on Chestnut creek, a branch of the Great Kanhaway near 
where it crosses the Carolina line. What are called the iron-banks, on the 
Mississippi, are believed, by a good judge, to have no iron in them. In gen- 
eral, from what is hitherto known of that country, it seems to want iron. 

Bourbon furnace was not within the limits of any of these 
boundaries, but was located not far from the Ohio river. Nor 
is it probable that there were any iron enterprises in the Ken- 
tucky portion of the regions mentioned by Jefferson prior to 
the building of Bourbon furnace. This furnace was the first 
furnace outside of the present limits of the original thirteen 
colonies of which we can obtain any information. 

We have received from V. B. Young, Esq., of Owingsville, 
Kentucky, a very full historical account of Bourbon furnace, 
which we present as follows : 

In October, 1782, Jacob Myers came from Baltimore, Maryland, to the 
region now embraced in Bath county, Kentucky, but then in Bourbon coun- 
ty, and soon afterwards patented 5,434 acres of land on Slate creek. In 
March, 1791, he commenced the erection of a furnace on this land, and on 
the 24th of May following he sold to John Cockey Owings, of Baltimore, 
Christopher Greenup, of Mercer county, Kentucky, Walter Beall, of Nelson 


county, Kentucky, and Willis Green, of Lincoln county, Kentucky, seven- 
eighths of his interest in the furnace and in the land, the consideration 
being 1,426 8s. 6d. On the same day all the persons mentioned formed 
themselves into a company and subscribed to an agreement which stip- 
ulated that "the furnace now building on Slate creek shall hereafter be 
styled, called, and known by the name of the Bourbon furnace, and the 
firm of the company shall be John Cockey Owings and Company, owners 
and proprietors of the Bourbon furnace." During the erection of the fur- 
nace, and afterwards while the hands employed by the company were dig- 
ging ore, the workmen had to be guarded by men with guns against the 
Indians; hence it became necessary to build a strong block-house on the 
principal ore bank for the better security of the laborers. The first blast 
made by the furnace was in 1792. 

On March 6, 1795, George Thompson, Colonel George Nicholas, John 
Breckinridge, and John Hollingsworth became members of the company, 
adding to its capital lands and other property equal in value to the origi- 
nal investment. On June 27, 1798, Christopher Greenup sold his interest 
to George Nicholas and Walter Beall. In July, 1799, George Nicholas died. 
On January 15, 1800, Walter Beall sold his interest to Colonel Thomas Dye 
Owings, a son of John Cockey Owings, who had inherited his father's inter- 
est. In 1806 Colonel Owings became the sole owner of Bourbon furnace. 
He operated it successfully until 1822, when he became involved in debt 
and was compelled to make an assignment. The furnace was then oper- 
ated by trustees for several years, when it was sold for the benefit of the 
creditors, passing into the hands of Robert Wicklifie, of Lexington, Ken- 
tucky, who leased it to Major John C. Mason and Samuel Herndon, who 
operated it until August, 1839, when its last blast came to an end. The 
stack is still standing. 

The owners of Bourbon furnace built Slate forge, on Slate creek, three 
miles above the furnace, in 1798, to convert its pig iron into bar iron. This 
forge was in operation until 1818. Maria forge, three miles above the mouth 
of Slate creek, was built for the same purpose in 1810 by Joseph and Car- 
lisle Harrison. It was in operation until 1840. 

Bourbon furnace used the Clinton ore from two banks two miles south 
of the furnace one called the Howard hill bank and the other called the 
Block-house bank. The water-power furnished by Slate creek was often 
insufficient to keep the furnace working regularly. The production of the 
furnace was about three tons per day. The iron made at the furnace had 
a poor reputation for strength, but it was very hard, which was due to the 
large amount of phosphorus it contained. 

Bourbon furnace supplied the early settlers of Kentucky with all the 
castings they needed, such as, heating stoves, cooking utensils, flat-irons, 
etc. After Slate forge w T as built the blacksmiths of the State were supplied 
by it with bar iron. The castings and bar iron were hauled in wagons to 
all parts of the State, and distributed through the principal stores in the 
towns. There are many heating stoves and cooking utensils still in- use in 
Kentucky that were made at this furnace. Products of the furtiace and 
the forge were also hauled to Licking river, a distance of seven miles, and 
put into flat-boats and floated to Cincinnati and Louisville on the Ohio. 

In 1810 Colonel Owings had a contract with the United States Govern- 


ment to furnish cannon balls, grape shot, etc., to the navy. He also fur- 
nished General Jackson with cannon balls, grape shot, chain shot, etc., to 
use against the British, and they were so used at the battle of New Orleans 
on the 8th of January, 1815. I have in my possession the original receipt 
of General Jackson's sergeant-major for the cannon balls, etc., and also the 
receipts of several naval officers. 

The owners of Bourbon furnace carried on a large general store. They 
brought their goods from Philadelphia. The Kentucky merchant in those 
early days traveled all the way to Philadelphia on horseback, carrying in 
saddle-bags the silver to pay for his goods. They brought their goods in 
wagons to Pittsburgh, thence down the Ohio on flat-boats to the mouth of 
the Limestone, now Maysville, in Mason county, Kentucky, and thence 
hauled them to the furnace, a distance of forty-five miles. The company 
also built and carried on a grist mill, which had a widely extended custom. 

The founders and early owners of Bourbon furnace were all remark- 
able men, and their names are among the most eminent in the history of 
Kentucky. Jacob Myers, the pioneer, was a German, and a man of very 
fine sense. Christopher Greenup was a Virginian by birth, a soldier in the 
Revolution, a member of Congress from Kentucky in 1792, and Governor 
of Kentucky from 1804 to 1808. Greenup county 'was named after him. 
He died in 1818 in his 69th year. George Nicholas was a Virginian by 
birth, and a great lawyer and a great statesman. He was a soldier in the 
Revolution, was a member of the convention to frame a Constitution for 
Kentucky, was the author of that instrument, and was the first Attorney- 
General of the State. John Breckinridge was a Virginian by birth, and 
was the author of the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798. He was a United 
States Senator from .Kentucky in 1801, and was appointed Attorney-Gen- 
eral of the United States in 1805. He was the grandfather of Vice-Presi- 
dent John C. Breckinridge. Walter Beall and Willis Green were surveyors 
from Virginia, and the latter held various local offices in Kentucky. John 
Cockey Owings was a large landholder in Maryland. 

The original of the following memorandum was handed 
to the editor of the Portsmouth (Ohio) Tribune in 1880 by 
Mr. L. C. Robinson. It refers to Bourbon furnace. 

KENTUCKY, ss. : Memorandum of an Agreement made and Concluded 
upon this day between John Cockey Owings & Co., in Iron Works at the 
Bourbon Furnace of the one part, and Robert Williams (potter) of the other 
part. Witnesseth that the aforesaid Company doth this day agree to give 
the said Williams five pounds p. month for three months' work and to find 
him provisions during the time he shall work until the three months are 
expired, and said Company doth further agree, in case the furnace is not 
ready to blow before or at the expiration of the three months, if the water 
will admit, or as soon as the water will admit after that time, to give him p. 
month- as much as he can make in a month at the potting Business for such 
time as said Furnace may not be Ready to put in Blast as witness our 
hands this second day of June, 1793. JN. COCKEY WINGS. 




For a number of years after 1800 the iron industry of 
Kentucky made steady progress. Tench Coxe mentions four 
furnaces and three forges in 1810. One furnace was in 
Estill county, one in Wayne, and two were in Montgomery. 
One of the forges was in Estill county, one in Wayne, and 
one in Montgomery. His enumeration, however, is incom- 
plete, no mention, for instance, being made of the iron en- 
terprises in Bath county, which were in operation long after 
1810. In the same year, or soon afterwards, there were four 
nail factories at Lexington, making seventy tons of nails an- 

About 1815 Richard Deering, a farmer of Greenup coun- 
ty, smelted in a cupola the first iron ore used in the Hang- 
ing Rock district of Kentucky. His experiment with the cu- 
pola proving to be successful he took into partnership David 
and John Trimble, and these three persons built in 1817 or 
1818 one of the first furnaces in the district. It was called 
Argillite, and was located in Greenup county, about six miles 
southwest of Greenupsburg, upon the left bank of the Little 
Sandy river. The stack, which was 25 feet high and 6 feet 
wide at the boshes, was cut in a cliff of black slate Hence 
the name, Argillite. Lesley says : " It was not a structure, 
but an excavation in the solid slate rock of the cliff, the 
archway below being excavated to meet it." This furnace 
was operated only a few years, when it was abandoned. Its 
product was always small. 

Another early furnace in this district was Pactolus, built 
by Ward & McMurtry soon after 1818 on the Little Sandy 
river, in Carter county, above Argillite furnace. It was soon 
abandoned. A forge was connected with this furnace. An- 
other early enterprise in this district was Steam furnace, in 
Greenup county, situated about three miles from the Ohio 
river and five miles from Greenupsburg. It is said by Les- 
ley to have been built in 1817 by Leven Shreeves & Brother. 
It was operated with steam. It was abandoned after 1860. 
Enterprise furnace, on Tygart's creek, in Greenup county, was 
built in 1826, but Richard Deering is said to have erected a 
forge of the same name on the same creek in 1824. Belle- 
fonte furnace, on Hood's creek, two and a half miles south- 
west of Ashland, in Boyd county, was built in 1826 by A. 


Paull, George Poague, and others, and was the first furnace 
in this county. It was in operation in 1890. 

Between 1817 and 1834 at least thirteen furnaces were 
built in Greenup, Carter, and Boyd counties. One of the 
earliest of these was Camp Branch, or Farewell, situated on 
Little Sandy river, fourteen miles from Greenupsburg, near 
the Carter county line, built by David and John Trimble. 
Subsequent to 1834 about fifteen other charcoal furnaces were 
built in these three counties and in Lawrence county. Most 
of the charcoal furnaces of this district have been abandon- 
ed. A few excellent bituminous coal and coke furnaces have, 
however, been erected in late years. Notwithstanding these 
additions to its furnace capacity this district is not now so 
prominent in the manufacture of iron as it has been. 

About 1830 there were a dozen forges in Greenup, Estill, 
Edmonson, and Crittenden counties, all of which, with one 
exception, were abandoned before 1850. Two forges were 
built below Eddyville, in Lyon county, about 1840. All the 
forges mentioned refined pig iron into blooms, many of 
which found a market at Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Ken- 
tucky rolling mills. A few years ago there was only one 
forge remaining in the State, Red River, in Estill county, but 
it has since been abandoned. If any bloomaries ever existed 
in Kentucky they were abandoned early in this century. 

In addition to the iron enterprises in the Hanging Rock 
region of Kentucky furnaces were built before 1860 in sever- 
al of the middle and western counties of the State in Bath, 
Russell, Bullitt, Nelson, Muhlenburg, Lyon, Crittenden, Trigg, 
Calloway, and Livingston counties. Two of these furnaces, 
Caney and Clear Creek, were in Bath county. In this period 
eight rolling mills were also built in Kentucky. The period 
from about 1825 to 1860 witnessed great activity in the devel- 
opment of the iron industry of Kentucky. Since the close of 
the civil war this activity has not been maintained. It can 
not be said that the State has devoted that attention to the 
manufacture of iron which its position and resources most 
certainly invite. 

Kentucky was seventh in the list of iron and steel produc- 
ing States in 1870 and eleventh in 1880. In 1890 it was four- 
teenth in rank among the States producing pig iron and it 


occupied the same position among the States producing rolled 
iron. Of twenty-two furnaces in the State in 1880 eighteen 
used charcoal and four used bituminous coal. In the same 
year there were eight rolling mills two at Covington, two at 
Newport, two at Louisville, one at Ashland, and one in Lyon 
county ; there were also two steel works connected wdth the 
rolling mills at Covington and Newport. The first rolling 
mill in Kentucky appears to have been built at Covington in 
1829, a portion of its machinery having been obtained from 
the dismantled Union rolling mill at Pittsburgh. 

In 1890 there were five coke furnaces and one charcoal 
furnace in Kentucky and six rolling mills and one open- 
hearth steel plant, the last named being at Covington. A Bes- 
semer steel plant was in course of erection at Ashland, in Boyd 
county. This place has in late years become prominent as an 
iron centre, having three active coke furnaces. At Middles- 
borough, in Bell county, an English company has recently un- 
dertaken the erection of iron and steel works on an extensive 
scale, embracing two coke furnaces and a basic open-hearth 
steel plant, none of which had been completed at the begin- 
ning of 1891. The South Boston Iron Works are to be re- 
moved to this place in 1891. There is also a charcoal fur- 
nace in course of erection at Cumberland Gap, and two char- 
coal furnaces are also in course of erection at Grand Rivers, 
in Livingston county. 

It is a favorable sign that the coking coals of Kentucky 
are now in a fair way to be developed on an extensive scale. 



THE first settlers of Tennessee erected iron works within 
its limits soon after the close of the Revolution. Bishop says 
that a bloomary was built in 1790 at Embreeville, in Washing- 
ton county. At Elizabethton, on Doe river, in Carter county, 
a bloomary was built about 1795. Wagner's bloomary, on 
Roane creek, in Johnson county, is said to have been built 
in this year. A bloomary was also erected on Camp creek, in 
Greene county, in 1797. Two bloomaries in Jefferson county 
the Mossy Creek forge, ten miles north of Dandridge, and 
Dumpling forge, five miles west of Dandridge were built in 
the same year. About the same time, if not earlier, David 
Ross, the proprietor of iron works in Campbell county, Vir- 
ginia, erected a large furnace and forge at the junction of the 
two forks of the Holston river, in Sullivan county, near the 
Virginia line, on "the great road from Knoxville to Phila- 
delphia." Bishop states an interesting fact in the following 
words : " Boats of twenty-five tons burden could ascend to 
Ross's iron works, nearly 1,000 miles above the mouth of the 
Tennessee, and about 280 above Nashville. At Long Island, 
a short distance above, on the Holston, where the first per- 
manent settlement in Tennessee was made in 1775, boats were 
built to transport iron and castings made in considerable 
quantities at these works, with other produce, to the lower 
settlements and New Orleans." A bloomary was built about 
1795 below the mouth of the Watauga, and another at the 
same time about twenty-five miles above the mouth of French 
Broad river and thirty miles above Knoxville. 

All the above-mentioned enterprises were in East Ten- 
nessee. In West Tennessee iron was also made in the last 
decade of the last century. Nashville was founded in 1780, 
and a few years later iron ore was discovered about thirty 
miles west of the future city. In 1792 Cumberland furnace 
was erected on Iron fork of Barton's creek, in Dickson county, 
seven miles northwest of Charlotte, by James Robinson. This 


furnace was rebuilt in 1825, and was in operation in 1888. 
Dickson county and its neighbors, Stewart and Montgomery 
counties, afterwards became very prominent in the manu- 
facture of charcoal pig iron. Other counties in the same sec- 
tion of the State have also, but in a less conspicuous degree, 
made iron in charcoal furnaces. The first furnace in Mont- 
gomery county was probably Yellow Creek, situated fourteen 
miles southwest of Clarksville, and built in 1802. 

The iron industry of Tennessee made steady progress 
after the opening of the present century. Both furnaces and 
bloomaries multiplied rapidly. In 1856 Lesley enumerated 
over seventy-five forges and bloomaries, seventy-one furnaces, 
and four rolling mills in Tennessee, each of which had been 
in operation at some time after 1790. Of the furnaces twen- 
ty-nine were in East Tennessee and forty-two in Middle and 
West Tennessee. Fourteen of the latter were in Stewart coun- 
ty, twelve in Montgomery, seven in Dickson, two in Hick- 
man, two in Perry, two in Decatur, two in Wayne, and one in 
Hardin county. There were at one time forty-one furnaces on 
the Cumberland river in Tennessee and Kentucky. The fur- 
naces in East Tennessee were mainly in Sullivan and Carter 
counties, Sullivan having five and Carter seven ; but John- 
son, Washington, Greene, Cocke, Sevier, Monroe, Hamilton, 
Claiborne, Campbell, Grainger, and Union counties each had 
one or two furnaces, while Roane county had three. There 
was an early furnace in Polk county, which is not noted by 
Lesley but is mentioned by Bishop. The forges and blooma- 
ries were mainly located in East Tennessee. Johnson county 
contained fifteen, Carter ten, Sullivan six, Washington three, 
Greene ten, Campbell seven, Blount four, Roane seven, Rhea 
three, and a few other counties one and two each. Nearly all 
of these were bloomaries. In West Tennessee there were less 
than- a dozen refinery forges and one or two bloomaries. The 
forges of West Tennessee, like those of Kentucky, were large- 
ly employed from about 1825 to 1860 in the manufacture of 
blooms for rolling mills, many of which found a market in 
the Ohio valley. Most of the furnaces and all of the forges 
enumerated by Lesley have long been abandoned, and all of 
the bloomaries except two or three have also been abandoned. 
There are now in Tennessee ten charcoal furnaces. 


In 1883 there were in this State eight coke furnaces, all of 
recent origin, four rolling mills, and two steel works. In 1890 
there were ten completed coke furnaces and several building, 
four rolling mills, and three steel works, two of which were 
connected with the rolling mills. Cumberland rolling mill, 
on the left bank of the Cumberland river, in Stewart county, 
was built in 1829 and was probably the first rolling mill in 
the State. It was the only one in Tennessee as late as 1856. 

Since the close of the civil war Chattanooga has become 
the most prominent iron centre in Tennessee, having several 
iron enterprises of its own and others in its vicinity. Prior 
to the war, in 1854, Bluff furnace had been built by Robert 
Cravens, James A. Whiteside, and James P. Boyce, to use 
charcoal. In 1857 Lesley said of this furnace : " The bitu- 
minous coal of the Raccoon mines, now leased and worked 
by the Etna Mining Company, can be brought to the fur- 
nace by railway ; it is excellent for coke, and some thoughts 
are entertained of turning the present furnace into a coke 
furnace." In 1859 the limestone stack was torn down by the 
East Tennessee Iron Company, of which James Henderson, 
of New York, was the manager, and a new iron cupola stack, 
11 feet wide at the boshes, was erected in its place, and Rac- 
coon coke was thereafter used as fuel. The new furnace was 
blown in in May, 1860, but owing to a short supply of coke 
the blast lasted only long enough to permit the production of 
about 500 tons of pig iron. All the machinery and appoint- 
ments of the furnace worked satisfactorily. The furnace was 
started on a second blast on the 6th of November, the day of 
the Presidential election, but political complications and the 
demoralized state of the furnace workmen were obstacles too 
great to be overcome, and the furnace soon chilled from the 
cause last mentioned, and in December Mr. Henderson aban- 
doned the enterprise and returned to New York. In the sum- 
mer of 1862, before the Union troops took possession of Chat- 
tanooga, the machinery of the furnace was removed to Ala- 
bama by Giles Edwards, who used it in the equipment of a 
small charcoal furnace near the site of the present town of 
Anniston. This furnace was active for about two years. The 
stack of the furnace at Chattanooga was used by the Union 
troops as a lime kiln, by whom it was subsequently torn down. 


This was the first coke furnace in either of the States of 
Tennessee or Alabama, which are now the theatre of such 
great present and prospective activity in the manufacture of 
pig iron with this fuel. 

The first coke furnace that was built in the South after 
the war was the first of the. two Rockwood furnaces, at Rock- 
wood, Roane county, Tennessee. This furnace was built in 
1867 by the Rdane Iron Company, of which General J. T. 
Wilder and Captain H. S. Chamberlain were the leading 
spirits. It was successful from the start and is still active. 

At the beginning of the war, in 1861, S. B. Lowe com- 
menced the erection of the Vulcan rolling mill at Chatta- 
nooga, to roll bar iron. This mill was not finished in 1863, 
when it was burned by the Union forces. Mr. Lowe rebuilt 
the mill in 1866. It was owned and operated by .the South 
Tredegar Iron Company in 1890. In 1864 a rolling mill to 
re-roll rails was built by the United States Government, un- 
der the supervision of John Fritz, then superintendent of 
the Bethlehem iron works. It was afterwards owned and op- 
erated by the Roane Iron Company. The first open-hearth 
steel made in any Southern State was made by the Siemens- 
Martin process at Chattanooga by this company on the 6th 
day of June, 1878, and 'in December of the same year the 
first steel rails ever made in the South were rolled at its 
works. Subsequently Bessemer steel works were built by 
this company, its supply of pig iron coming from the Rock- 
wood furnaces and the iron ore coming from the Cranberry 
mines. They made their first blow on May 7, 1887, and on 
that day the first Bessemer steel rail ever made in the 
South outside of Wheeling was successfully rolled at these 
works, but the rolling, of steel rails by this company has not 
since been actively continued. The first basic open-hearth 
steel ever made in Tennessee was made at the works of this 
company by the Southern Iron Company on the 15th of Sep- 
tember, 1890. Lookout rolling mill was built by the Tennes- 
see Iron and Steel Company in 1876, and was started in Oc- 
tober of that year. Lewis Scofield was at the time the presi- 
dent of the company. 

S. B. Lowe died at Chattanooga on April 13, 1891, aged 
about 63 years. 


The prominence of Chattanooga as an iron centre is in 
part due to the excellent bituminous coal which is found in 
the neighborhood and in part to its superior transportation 
facilities. Next to Chattanooga the most prominent iron cen- 
tre in Tennessee is Knoxville, which has a varied and pros- 
perous iron industry. The Knoxville Car Wheel Company 
many years ago established a high reputation for its car 
wheels, which were made from pig iron produced from lim- 
onite ores at Carter and other furnaces in East Tennessee. 
Nashville and South Pittsburg are also growing iron centres. 

Carter furnace, on Stony creek, a branch of the Watauga, 
was abandoned a few years ago. It was one of the last fur- 
naces in the country to obtain its blast from a pair of square 
wooden cylinders, or " tubs," driven by water-power. The 
pioneer Cumberland furnace, which was built in 1792, was 
blown by a trompe. 

Tennessee is destined to become much more prominent in 
the manufacture of iron than it has ever been. It will owe 
this prominence partly to the abundance of good bituminous 
coal which it possesses, but partly also to the improvements 
in the manufacture of charcoal pig iron which have already 
been adopted in many instances in this State, and partly to 
the adaptability to the basic steel process of pig iron made 
from its ores. Of the good quality of Tennessee ores for 
general purposes nothing needs to be. said. 



THE oldest furnace in Alabama mentioned by Lesley was 
built about- 1818 a few miles west of Russellville, in Franklin 
county, and abandoned in 1827. This unsuccessful venture 
appears to have had a dispiriting effect on other schemes to 
build furnaces in Alabama, as we do not hear of the erection 
of any others for many years after it was abandoned. A fur- 
nace was built at Polksville, in Calhoun county, in 1843 ; one 
at Round Mountain, in Cherokee county, in 1853 ; and Shelby 
furnace, at Shelby, in Shelby county, in 1848. These were all 
charcoal furnaces, and were the only ones in Alabama enu- 
merated by Lesley in 1856. The total product in that year of 
the three last-named furnaces was 1,495 gross tons of pig iron. 
Shelby furnace was built by Horace Ware, who many years 
afterwards added a small foundry and a small mill for roll- 
ing cotton-ties and bar iron. The furnace was burned in 
1858, but was immediately rebuilt. The mill was commenc- 
ed in 1859, and on the llth of April, 1860, the first iron was 
rolled. It was burned in 1865 by General Wilson's com- 
mand of Union cavalry and has not been rebuilt. Part of 
the machinery was, however, removed to Helena, in Shelby 
county, a few years afterwards, where a rolling mill was built 
in 1872 and is now in operation. In place of the original fur- 
nace at Shelby there are now two modern charcoal furnaces. 

Alabama had a bloomary two and a half miles southwest 
of Montevallo, in Shelby county, in 1825 ; several bloomaries 
in Bibb county between 1830 and 1840; one in Talladega 
county in 1842 ; two in Calhoun county in 1843 ; and others in 
various counties at later periods. In 1856 Lesley mentioned 
seventeen forges and bloomaries, mostly the latter, as having 
been built at various periods prior to that year, about one- 
half of which were then in operation, producing 252 tons of 
blooms and bar iron. Since 1856 all these forges and blooma- 
ries in Alabama have disappeared. Most of them were blown 
with the trompe and the remainder with wooden "tubs." 


It will be noticed that as late as 1856 Alabama possessed 
a very small iron industry. During the civil war several 
new iron enterprises were undertaken. A furnace in Sanford 
county was built in 1861 ; Cornwall furnace, at Cedar Bluff, 
in Cherokee county, was built in 1862 ; a second Shelby fur- 
nace, in Shelby county, to take the place of the original stack, 
was built in 1863 ; Alabama furnace, in Talladega county, was 
built in 1863, burned by General Wilson in April, 1865, and 
rebuilt in 1873. Two furnaces and a small rolling mill were 
built at Brierfield, in Bibb county, in 1863 and 1864. All 
the furnaces were built to use charcoal. The Brierfield roll- 
ing mill was first used for rolling bar iron and rails. In 1863 
or early in 1864 it was sold to the Confederate Government, 
by which it was operated until 1865, when it was burned by 
the Union troops under General Wilson. It was rebuilt after 
the war, and for some time was used to roll bar iron and 
cotton-ties, principally the latter. This mill was again re- 
built in 1882 and 1883. 

The following interesting history of the Shelby furnace 
and rolling mill, and of the part taken by them in supply- 
ing the Southern Confederacy with iron for its military op- 
erations, was sent to us in 1888 by the assistant secretary of 
the Shelby Iron Company, Mr. E. T. Witherby. 

The first blast furnace erected here went into blast in 1848. Horace 
Ware was its proprietor. In 1854 Mr. Robert Thomas made iron in a forge 
near here. This iron was sent to England and returned in razors and 
knives. In 1859 Mr. Ware began the erection of a rolling mill. It was 
completed and started in the spring of 1860. In 1862 Mr. Ware sold his 
property to the Shelby County Iron Manufacturing Company, which erect- 
ed a new furnace, the one which we have recently torn down, and on 
whose site we are erecting a new stack. The rolling mill was enlarged in 
1862 and was operated continuously until March 31, 1865, when it was de- 
stroyed by General Wilson of the Union army. It was in this mill, in 
1864, that the plates were rolled for the armor of the ironclad ram Ten- 
nessee. Judge James W. Lapsley, one of the stockholders and directors of 
the present Shelby Iron Company, was made a prisoner by the Union 
forces in 1863 while in Kentucky looking for puddlers for this mill. 

When I came here, nearly twenty years ago, we had plates, merchant 
bars, and strap rails on hand made entirely of Shelby iron and rolled in 
this mill. Some of the plates, known to us now as the "gunboat iron," 
are still in our store house, but they have been slowly disappearing under 
the demand of our blacksmiths for an " extra good piece of iron " for " this 
job " or " that particular place," etc. Some of these plates are 8 inches by 


3 inches and others 11 inches by 5 inches, and of various lengths; orig- 
inally they were, perhaps, 10 feet long. 

Shelby pig iron was also shipped to the Confederate arsenal and found- 
ry at Selma, Alabama, in 1864, where the Tennessee was constructed and 
fitted out. This iron doubtless went into guns and other castings for this 
vessel. Catesby ap Jones was superintendent of the arsenal, and with his 
senior in rank, Franklin Buchanan, both pupils of that sea-god, Matthew 
Calbraith Perry, wrought out the Tennessee. They were as full of progress- 
ive ideas regarding steam and armor as their master, and nothing but the 
scanty means at their disposal prevented a much more formidable ironclad 
than the Tennessee from being set afloat. Car-wheel makers are now the 
exclusive users of our iron. 

The existence of bituminous coal in Alabama was first 
observed in 1834 by Dr. Alexander Jones, of Mobile, but little 
was done to develop the ample coal resources of the State un- 
til after the close of the civil war, when it was found that the 
coal in the neighborhood of Birmingham and at other places 
would produce excellent coke for blast furnaces, and that at 
least two coal fields the Black Warrior and Coosa were so 
extensive as to set at rest all apprehension concerning a con- 
stant supply of coal for a long period of time. These discov- 
eries, joined to the possession of an abundant supply of good 
ores, at once gave Alabama prominence as a State which 
would in a few years boast a large iron industry, and this 
promise has been fulfilled. Birmingham is now the centre 
of the most extensive manufacture of coke pig iron in the 
Southern States. There are also at Birmingham and its vi- 
cinity several rolling mills, all built during the last few years. 
The first rolling mill at Birmingham was built in 1880. The 
rapid growth of this place as a centre of iron production is 
one of the marvels of our wonderful industrial development, 
both North and South, since the close of the war. But the 
manufacture of charcoal pig iron in Alabama has also grown 
rapidly since the close of the war, and the State can now 
boast more charcoal furnaces than, ever before in its history. 

Colonel J. W. Sloss was the pioneer in the coke pig-iron 
industry of Alabama. In 1876 he and his associates built 
the Eureka coke furnace at Oxmoor. Subsequently he was 
instrumental in developing the celebrated Pratt seam of cok- 
ing coal. Colonel Sloss was born in Alabama in 1820 and 
died on Ma^ 4, 1890. The first furnace at Birmingham was 
Alice furnace, built by H. F. DeBardeleben in 1879 and 1880. 



It was put in blast on November 23, 1880. It was followed 
by the first of the Sloss furnaces, which was put in blast on 
April 12, 1882. 

As Alabama is the last of the Southern States which has 
an iron industry worthy of special consideration we will here 
present the record of the marvelous progress in the produc- 
tion of pig iron made by all the Southern ironmaking States 
from 1880 to 1890. In this table, following the ante bettum 
geographical divisions, we class Maryland among the South- 
ern States. 


Net tons of 2,000 pounds. 

















West Virginia 

Xentucky . 




North Carolina 









From 1880 to 1883 Alabama more than doubled its pro- 
duction of pig iron ; from 1883 to 1888 it was again more 
than doubled ; and from 1888 to 1890 it was once more 

Late in 1890 there were thirty-seven completed coke fur- 
naces in Alabama and two in course of erection, and fifteen 
completed charcoal furnaces and others that were projected. 
At the same time there were in Alabama eight completed 
rolling mills and others in course of erection. There was 
a small steel plant at Birmingham, and a larger plant was 
in course of erection at Fort Payne and others were project- 
ed. It can not be said, however, that Alabama has yet made 
any noteworthy progress in the establishment of a steel in- 
dustry. Its strength has thus far been mainly devoted to the 
manufacture of pig iron. 




THE establishment at an early day of so many charcoal 
furnaces and bloomaries in Western North Carolina and East 
Tennessee, sections of our country remote from the sea-coast 
and from principal rivers, is an interesting fact in the iron 
history of the country. The people who built these furnaces 
and bloomaries were not only courageous and enterprising:, 
but they appear to have been born with a genius for mak- ( 
ing iron. With scarcely an exception they were Scotch-Irish ; 
emigrants from the North of Ireland or their descendants.! 
Wherever they went they seem to have searched for iron ore,/ 
and having found it their small charcoal furnaces and bloom-1 
aries soon followed, the furnaces to produce simple castings 
and the bloomaries to make bar iron. No pioneers in any 
of the States of the Union have shown more intelligent ap- 
preciation of the value of an iron industry than the people 
of North Carolina and Tennessee, and none have been more 
prompt to establish it. In a less degree but upon precisely 
the same lines of activity the pioneers of Northern Georgia 
and Northern Alabama have shown praiseworthy enterprise. 
It is true that the aim of all these people until in very re- 
cent years has been mainly to supply their own wants, but 
this is a motive to be commended, and no community should 
be found fault with if a lack of capital and of means of trans- 
portation prevents it from cultivating a commercial spirit. 

The enterprise of the early ironworkers of all the States 
and sections above mentioned assumes a picturesque aspect 
when viewed in connection with the primitive methods of 
manufacture which were employed by them and which have 
been continued in use until the present day, when they may 
be said to have at last yielded to modern methods. Their 
charcoal furnaces were blown through one tuyere with wood- 
en " tubs " adjusted to attachments which were slow in mo- 
tion and which did not make the best use of the water-power 


that was often insufficiently supplied by mountain streams 
of limited volume. A ton or two of iron a day, usually in 
the shape of castings, was a good yield. The bloomaries, 
with scarcely an exception, were furnished with the trompe, 
or water-blast, a small stream with a suitable fall supplying 
both the blast for the fires and the power which turned the 
wheel that moved the big hammer. Of cast-iron cylinders, 
steam-power, two and three tuyeres, the hot-blast, and other 
valuable improvements in the charcoal-iron industry these 
people knew but little, and that little was mainly hearsay. 
They were pioneers and frontiersmen in every sense; from 
the great world of invention and progress they were shut out 
by mountains and streams and hundreds of miles of un- 
subdued forest. Nor would other than primitive methods of 
manufacturing iron have been adapted to their wants and 
their isolated condition. It is to their credit that they dil- 
igently sought to utilize the resources which they found 
under their feet, and that they made good use of the only 
means for the accomplishment of this purpose of which 
they had any accurate knowledge. 

It is a curious fact that the daring men who pushed their 
way into the wilds of Western North Carolina and East Ten- 
nessee in the last century, and who set up their small furna- 
ces and bloomaries when forts yet took the place of hamlets, 
founded an iron industry which has only lately yielded the 
primitive features which so long characterized it. Less than 
ten years ago there were furnaces still in operation .in these 
sections which used wooden "tubs," and there were in Ten- 
nessee about two dozen bloomaries and in North Carolina a 
dozen or more which were in all respects the counterparts in 
construction of those which the pioneers established. Nearly 
every one of these bloomaries was blown with the trompe, 
and in all other respects they were as barren of modern ap- 
pliances as if the world's iron industry and the world itself 
had stood still for a hundred years. They were fitfully op- 
erated, as the wants of their owners or of the neighboring 
farmers and blacksmiths required, or as the supply of water 
for the trompes and hammers would permit. " Thundergust 
forges" is an irreverent term that was frequently applied to 
them. They furnished their respective neighborhoods with 


iron for horseshoes, wagon-tires, and harrow-teeth. Mr. J. 
B. Killebrew, of Nashville, informed us a few years ago that 
throughout the counties of Johnson and Carter in Tennessee, 
where many of these bloomaries were located, bar iron was 
still used as currency. He then said : " Iron is taken in ex- 
change for shoes, coffee, sugar, calico, salt, and domestic and 
other articles used by the people of the country. It is con- 
sidered a legal tender in the settlement of all dues and lia- 
bilities. This bar iron, after being collected by the mer- 
chants, is sent out and sold in Knoxville, Bristol, and other 
points affording a market." The same usage prevailed in 
some other Southern States not many years ago, and it pre- 
vailed in many Northern States long after they began to 
make iron a century or two ago. In New England the sala- 
ries of some of the preachers were once paid in bar iron. 

The explanation of the survival in this country and until 
a late day of primitive methods of making iron which had 
long been abandoned by progressive communities lies in the 
fact that the obstacles to free intercourse with other communi- 
ties which hedged about the pioneers of whom we are writing 
have never been broken down and have only recently been 
modified. Few of the mountains and streams and forests of 
these sections had been tunneled, or bridged, or traversed by 
modern means of communication twenty years ago. The iron 
horse had made but slow progress in bringing this part of 
our country into association with other sections. There were 
no canals, and good roads were scarce. The pioneers were 
cut off by their isolated situation and their poverty from all 
intimate relations with the outside world. 

Until a few years ago there were some bloomaries still 
left in Southwestern Virginia which were similar in all re- 
spects to those of Western North Carolina and East Tennes- 
see, and which were used for precisely similar purposes. But 
the manufacture of iron in bloomaries was never so promi- 
nent a branch of the iron industry of Virginia as of the 
other two States mentioned. Virginia learned at an early 
day to convert the pig iron of its furnaces into bar iron in 
refinery forges. It was settled long before Western North 
Carolina, or Tennessee, or Georgia, or Alabama, and it had 
from the first an active commerce with Europe and with the 


other colonies along the Atlantic coast. Its environments 
were favorable to the acquisition of progressive ideas in the 
manufacture of iron. 

But old things must pass away, even in the iron industry 
of the mountain regions of the Southern States. The trans- 
formation in Tennessee and Alabama has already taken place. 
North Carolina, with its magnificent iron and other resources, 
must soon feel the pulse of a new industrial life. Georgia 
has at least abandoned methods which are no longer profit- 
able. Before another century is far advanced the sons of 
the people of whom we have been writing will wonder that 
the old ways of making iron stayed with their fathers as 
long as they did. 

Nevertheless our sympathy goes out to these old and dy- 
ing ways, which well served the people of this country in the 
early days. Among the treasures of our office is a piece of 
bar iron, made in a Catalan forge in Virginia, which has the 
ring of the best steel, and many of our readers know of pots 
and kettles, still perfect and in all respects of the neatest 
workmanship, which were cast at the old-fashioned furnaces 
and are now precious heir-looms, having faithfully minister- 
ed to the wants of generations that are now gone. 



THE beginning of the iron industry of Ohio is cotempo- 
rary with the admission of the State into the Union. It was 
admitted in 1802, and in 1803 its first furnace, Hopewell, was 
commenced by Daniel Eaton, and in 1804 it was finished. 
The furnace stood on the west side of Yellow creek, about 
one and a quarter miles from its junction with the Mahoning 
river, in the township of Poland, in Mahoning county. On 
the same stream, three-fourths of a mile from its mouth, 
and on the farm on which the furnace of the Struthers Fur- 
nace Company now stands, in the town of Struthers, another 
furnace was built in 1806 by Robert Montgomery and John 
Struthers. This furnace was called Montgomery. Thomas 
Struthers says : " These furnaces were of about equal capac- 
ity, and would yield about two and a half or three tons each 
per day. The metal was principally run into moulds for 
kettles, bake-ovens, flat-irons, stoves, andirons, and such other 
articles as the needs of a new settlement required, and any 
surplus into pigs and sent to the Pittsburgh market." The 
ore was obtained in the neighborhood. Hopewell furnace is 
said by Mr. Struthers to have had a rocky bluff for one of its 
sides. It was in operation in 1807, but it was soon afterwards 
blown out finally. Montgomery furnace was in operation un- 
til 1812, when, Mr. Struthers says, " the men were drafted into 
the war and it was never started again." This furnace stood 
" on the north side of Yellow creek, in a hollow in the bank." 
We are informed by Hon. John M. Edwards, of Youngstown, 
that about 1807 Hopewell furnace was sold by Eaton to Mont- 
gomery, Clendenin & Co., who were then the owners of Mont- 
gomery furnace, John Struthers having sold his interest in 
this furnace, or part of it, to David Clendenin in 1807 and 
Robert Alexander and James Mackey having about the same 
time become part owners. 

The above-mentioned enterprises were the first furnaces in 
Ohio, and, as will be observed, they were both on the West- 


ern Reserve. There were other early iron enterprises on the 
Reserve. At Nilestown, now Niles, in Trumbull county, as 
we are informed by Colonel Charles Whittlesey, of Cleveland, 
James Heaton built a forge in 1809, for the manufacture of 
bar iron from " the pig of the Yellow Creek furnace," Mont- 
gomery furnace. " This forge produced the first hammered 
bars in the State." It continued in operation until 1838. 
About 1812 James Heaton built, a furnace at Nilestown, near 
the mouth of Mosquito creek, where the Union school build- 
ing now stands. It was called Mosquito Creek furnace. For 
many years it used bog ore, the product being stoves and 
other castings. It was in operation until 1856, when it was 

About 1816 Aaron Norton built a furnace at Middlebury, 
near Akron, in Summit county, and in 1819 Asaph Whittle- 
sey built a forge on the Little Cuyahoga, near Middlebury. 
A furnace at Tallmadge, in the same county, was built about 
the same time. These two furnaces were in operation until 
about 1835. Bog ore was used. 

The beginning of the iron industry in the counties on 
Lake Erie probably dates from 1825, when Arcole furnace was 
built in Madison township, in the present county of Lake, by 
Root & Wheeler. Concord furnace, in the same county, was 
built by Fields & Stickney about 1828. In 1830 John Wil- 
keson became the owner of Arcole furnace. Geauga furnace, 
one mile north of Painesville, in Lake county, and Railroad 
furnace, at Perry, in Geauga county, were built about 1828, 
the former by an incorporated company and the latter by 
Thorndike & Drury, of Boston. During the next ten or 
twelve years many other furnaces were built near Lake Erie, 
in Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Erie, Huron, and Lorain counties. 
At a still later period other charcoal furnaces were built in 
the lake counties. All these lake furnaces, writes John Wil- 
keson in 1858, " were blown some eight months each year, 
and made about 30 tons per week of metal from the bog ore 
found in swales and swamps near and generally to the north 
of a ridge of land which was probably once the shore of Lake 
Erie, found extending, with now and then an interval, along 
from the west boundary of the State of New York to the 
Huron river in Ohio. The want of wood for charcoal, conse- 


quent upon the clearing up of the land, has occasioned the 
stoppage of most of these works. For a long time the set- 
tlers upon the shores of Lake Erie and in the State of Mich- 
igan were supplied with their stoves, potash kettles, and other 
castings by these works." 

All of the above-mentioned iron enterprises were on the 
Western Reserve. Just outside of its limits Gideon Hughes 
built a furnace in 1807 or 1808, on the Middle fork of Little 
Beaver creek, one and a half miles northwest of New Lisbon, 
in Columbiana county. It was in operation in 1808 and 1809. 
It was first called Rebecca of New Lisbon, but was afterwards 
named Dale furnace. Attached to this furnace a few years 
after its erection was a forge, which was used for making bar 
iron. John Frost, of New Lisbon, to whom we are indebted 
for this information, also writes us that " some two or three 
miles up the same stream Mr. Hughes and Joshua Malin 
erected a rolling mill in 1822, to which a company of Eng- 
lishmen^ said to be from Pittsburgh, not long afterwards 
added aiail-making machinery. In addition to manufacturing 
bar iron these works placed large quantities of nails in the 
market. This concern was more or less active till 1832, when 
the great flood of waters early in that year destroyed it, and 
it was never rebuilt." New Lisbon is located about twelve 
miles from the mouth of Little Beaver creek, which empties 
into the Ohio river. 

Soon after the beginning of the iron industry on the West- 
ern Reserve the manufacture of iron was undertaken in some 
of the interior and southern counties of the State. Bishop 
says that Moses Dillon, who had been associated with Isaac 
Meason and John Gibson in the building of Union furnace 
in Fayette county, Pennsylvania, in 1793, " afterwards erected 
a forge on Licking river, near Zaiiesville, Ohio, possibly the 
first in the State." This enterprise was preceded or immedi- 
ately followed by a furnace which is said to have been erected 
in 1808, but it may have been built a few years afterwards. 
It was located " at the Falls of Licking," four miles northwest 
of Zanesville, in Muskingum county, and its capacity was 
about one ton per day. It was used -to produce castings, as 
well as pig iron for the forge. Lesley says that this furnace 
was not abandoned "until 1850 or later." The forge was 


also operated until about 1850. The furnace and forge were 
known as Dillon's, and were widely celebrated. 

Mary Ann furnace, ten miles northeast of Newark, in 
Licking county, was built about 1816 by Dr. Brice and Da- 
vid Moore. It was burned down "about 1850. In Tuscarawas 
county the Zoar Community owned two early charcoal fur- 
naces. One of these, called Tuscarawas, was built about 1830 
by Christmas, Hazlett & Co., and was afterwards sold to the 
Community ; the other, called Zoar, was built about the same 
time by the Community. Both furnaces were finally blown 
out before 1850. 

Three furnaces were built in Adams county between 1811 
and 1816 to use the bog ores of the Brush creek valley. 
The first of these, Brush Creek, located twelve miles from 
the Ohio river, was built in 1811 and operated in 1813 by 
James Rodgers. It was probably built by Andrew Ellison, 
Thomas James, and Archibald Paull. It was in operation 
as late as 1837, when it produced 200 tons of iron, in 119 
days. On the same stream, twenty-two miles from the Ohio, 
was Marble furnace, built in 1816. Another furnace, known- 
as Old Steam, was built in 1814. It is said to have been 
built by James Rodgers, Andrew Ellison, and the Pittsburgh 
Steam Engine Company. Thomas W. Means once inform- 
ed us that " the first blast furnace run by steam in South- 
ern Ohio, if not in the United States, was built by James 
Rodgers in Adams county about 1814." This reference is to 
Old Steam furnace. " Its product was less than two tons of 
iron a day. Brush Creek furnace, in the same county, and 
other furnaces of that period which were run by water hard- 
ly averaged one ton of iron a day." Marble and Old Steam 
furnaces were abandoned about 1826. Lesley mentions three 
forges in Adams county Steam, at Old Steam furnace; 
Scioto, on the Little Scioto ; and Brush Creek, probably con- 
nected with Brush Creek furnace. The date of the erection 
of these forges is not given, but they were doubtless built 
soon after the three Adams county furnaces. They were all 
abandoned many years ago. There is now no iron industry 
in Adams county. 

In the chapter relating to Kentucky the beginning of the 
iron industry in the Hanging Rock region has been noted. 


This celebrated iron district embraces Greenup, Boyd, Cart- 
er, and Lawrence counties in Kentucky, and t Lawrence, Jack- 
son, Gallia, Vinton, and Scioto counties in Ohio. Just north 
of the Ohio portion of this district is the newly-developed 
Hocking Valley iron district, embracing Hocking county and 
several other counties. The Hanging Rock district takes its 
name from a projecting cliff upon the north side of the Ohio 
river, situated back of the town of Hanging Rock, which is 
in Lawrence county, three miles below Ironton. The first 
furnace in the Ohio part of the Hanging Rock district was 
Union furnace, located a few miles northwest of Hanging 
Rock, built in 1826 and 1827 by John Means, John Sparks, 
and James Rodgers, the firm's name being James Rodgers & 
Co. Franklin furnace was the second on the Ohio side. It 
stood sixteen miles east of Portsmouth, in Scioto county, and 
half a mile from the Ohio river, and was built in 1827 by 
the Rev. Daniel Young and others. The next furnace was 
Pine Grove, on Sperry's fork of Pine creek, back of Hanging 
Rock, in Lawrence county, five miles from the Ohio river, 
built in 1828 by Robert Hamilton and Andrew Ellison. In 
the same year Scioto furnace, in Scioto county, fifteen miles 
north of Portsmouth, was built by William Salters. From 
this time forward furnaces increased rapidly on the Ohio side 
of the district, as well as on the Kentucky side. From 1826 
to 1880 the whole number built on the Ohio side was about 
sixty and on the Kentucky side about thirty. All the early 
furnaces were built to use charcoal, but timber becoming 
scarce coke was substituted at some of them while others 
were abandoned. In late years a few furnaces have been 
built in the district expressly to use coke or raw coal. In 
1880 there were on the Ohio side thirty-one charcoal furna- 
ces and seventeen bituminous coal or coke furnaces, but in 
1890 the number of charcoal furnaces had been reduced to 
eleven and the number of bituminous furnaces to fifteen. 
At Vesuvius furnace, on Storm's creek, in Lawrence coun- 
ty, Ohio, six miles northeast of Ironton, the hot-blast was 
successfully applied in 1836 by John Campbell and others, 
William Firmstone putting up the apparatus. It was also 
at once applied at the La Grange and other Hanging Rock 


The Hanging Rock district, on both sides of the Ohio, has 
produced many t eminent ironmasters, and its iron resources 
have been developed with great energy. John Campbell, of 
Ironton, and Thomas W. Means, of Hanging Rock, both prom- 
inent among its early ironmasters, have lived to a good old 
age. Mr. Campbell was born in 1808 in Brown county, Ohio, 
and was in good health in June, 1891. With the aid of others 
he Has built eleven furnaces in the Hanging Rock district. 
He projected the town of -Ironton and gave it its name, and 
also assisted in the founding of Ashland, Kentucky, and in 
building its railroad. Like many of the ironmasters of this 
district he is of Scotch-Irish extraction, his ancestors having 
removed in 1612 from Inverary, in Argyleshire, Scotland, to 
the neighborhood of Londonderry, in Ulster, Ireland. Their 
descendants removed in 1729 and 1739 to Augusta county, 
Virginia ; thence, in 1790, to Bourbon county, Kentucky ; and 
thence, in 1798, to that part of Adams county, Ohio, which 
is now embraced in Brown county. Mr. Means was born in 
Union district, South Carolina, in 1803, and was of English 
ancestry. He removed from Hanging Rock to Ashland, Ken- 
tucky, in 1881, and died at that place on June 8, 1890, aged 
about 87 years. Andrew Ellison, Robert Hamilton, James 
Rodgers, and Andrew Dempsey, all of whom are now dead, 
were enterprising and prominent iron manufacturers. In De- 
cember, 1844, Mr. Hamilton successfully tried the experiment 
of stopping Pine Grove furnace, which he then owned, on 
Sunday, and his example has since been generally follow- 
ed in the Hanging Rock region. This furnace is still active. 
John Campbell, Robert Hamilton, and Thomas W. Means 
were united in marriage with members of the Ellison fam- 
ily. The third generation of this family is now engaged in 
the iron industry of Southern Ohio. 

John Means, a native of Exeter, in Devonshire, England, 
removed to Pennsylvania in 1735. His son, William Means, 
removed from Pennsylvania to South Carolina shortly be- 
fore the Revolution, where he married Anna Newton, a rela- 
tive of Sir Isaac Newton. Their son, John Means, removed 
to Adams county, Ohio, in 1819, taking with him his slaves, 
whom he liberated. He died on his farm near Manchester, 
in Adams county, on March 15, 1837, and was buried in the 


churchyard at Manchester. He was part owner of a furnace 
and a forge in Adams county in the early days. He was 
the father of Thomas W. Means. 

In the first number of the Journal of the United States As- 
sociation of Charcoal Iron Workers for 1891 Mr. John Birkin- 
bine, the editor, describes Olive furnace, in Lawrence county, 
Ohio, in the Hanging Rock region, which, he says, "is the 
only active blast furnace in the United States the stak of 
which is largely hewn from the solid rock." It will be re- 
membered that in our Kentucky chapter we mentioned Ar- 
gillite furnace in that State as having been similarly con- 
structed, but that furnace was long ago abandoned. It will 
also be remembered that in one of our earlier chapters we 
described two furnaces in Scotland, known as the Devon iron 
works, which were cut out of the solid rock. Mr. Birkin- 
bine's description of Olive furnace is as follows. 

The Olive furnace was constructed and first operated in the year 1846, 
and with the exception of one year it has been in blast every year since 
its completion. Originally the furnace was run with cold-blast, the pig 
iron being consumed principally by charcoal forges along the Ohio river 
for the production of blooms, to be used in the manufacture of boiler 
plates. After being operated in this way for ten years, during which 
time the output averaged about six to eight tons per day, a hot-blast of 
the ring pattern was added. Throughout the various changes the origi- 
nal stack, built in 1846, was retained, and beyond an addition of 4 feet 
to the top masonry, making the total height 40 feet, and widening one 
tuyere arch, the main structure is as it was first built. 

The peculiarity of construction consists in the lower half of the blast- 
furnace stack being hewn from a ledge of solid rock, which is exposed 
for a height of over 20 feet. This rock ledge is a sandstone, which cuts 
easily when first hewn but hardens upon exposure. A suitable site hav- 
ing been selected the earth in front of the rock was removed, and the 
entire rock face thus exposed was dressed for a length of 60 feet, and 
from this space the blast-furnace stack was cut, the additional height of 
stack, 20 feet, being obtained by masonry built upon the rock. 

In general appearance and outline the lower portion of the stack of 
the Olive furnace does not, except in a total absence of bracing, differ 
materially from the older stacks which were built of stone masonry ; the 
stack is square in plan, with sloping sides, the bottom being 48 feet -square 
and the top (20 feet above the bottom) 36 feet square. It stands at the 
sides and rear from 4 to 6 feet and at the top still further away from the 
mass of rock of which it originally formed a part. It is cored out to ac- 
commodate the lining of the furnace, and the sides are pierced for one 
fore arch and two tuyere arches, all cut in the solid rock. 

Originally the inwall was laid with sandstone, and the hearth and 


bosh were constructed of the same material. In later years, however, fire- 
brick has been used for the in wall and lining; but hearth and bottoms 
are still cut from the sandstone, which occurs in great quantity and of 
excellent quality convenient to the Olive furnace. 

The frequent changes of temperature have caused the mass of rock 
forming the lower portion of the stack to develop a number of cracks. 
At first these were small, but at each blast they have opened until they 
exhibit in a remarkable manner the marvelous power of expansion. This 
portiqn of the stack being without bands or buck-staves has an appear- 
ance of weakness, which, however, on closer examination, is removed, and 
it is probable that the old hewn stack is good for years of service. 

The good quality of Hanging Rock charcoal pig iron 
and the conditions surrounding its production during the 
last sixty years are told with a pleasing touch of sentiment 
in the following anonymous newspaper paragraph, which 
appeared in the latter part of 1890. 

The old charcoal furnace of the Hecla Iron and Mining Company, at 
Ironton, Ohio, which was succeeded by a new stack during the past sum- 
mer, is one of the most celebrated in the Hanging Rock region, and will 
for a long time remain as a landmark in that locality. The furnace was 
built in 1833 and abandoned on April 15, 1890, and was a stone stack, 36 by 
10 feet, cold-blast, open top. The ores used were siderite and limonite, and 
for years the product held an enviable place in the estimation of consum- 
ers. The iron produced has commanded such customers as the United 
States Government during the civil war (one or two blasts being about all 
engaged) for ordnance, etc., cast at Pittsburgh. Its metal went into the guns 
mounted in the Swamp Angel battery which besieged the city of Charles- 
ton. The metal was also used in the armor plates of the gunboats which 
stormed Forts Donelson and Henry. For many years the Pennsylvania 
Railroad Company has taken about all the furnace would make of certain 
grades, for use in the best class of car wheels. Other customers used the 
metal for a fine quality of chilled rolls, etc., and the strongest parts of 
machinery. The iron was produced in the simplest manner, many of the 
employes having lived at the furnace all their lives, some 45, 55, and one 
65 years. The charcoal used was from the company's lands, made in old 
style and hauled by ox teams, producing iron at large cost and selling at 
large prices, $80 and $90 during the war, $65 during the booms of 1873 
and 1880, but since then at a minimum price, necessitating the abandon- 
ment for more modern and cheaper methods, though the old stack will 
be preserved. Scarred, rugged, moss-grown, picturesque, and unique, it will 
serve as a reminder of pioneer days, of war's fierce alarms, and that sen- 
timent still lives amidst this latter-day strife in ironmaking. 

In 1833 a forge was built at Hanging Rock, after which 
it was named, to manufacture blooms. It was owned by 
J. Riggs & Co., and was built under the superintendence of 
John Campbell and Joseph Riggs. A rolling mill was added 


before 1847. Both the forge and rolling mill have long been 
abandoned. A forge was built at Sample's Landing, fifteen 
miles below Gallipolis, soon after 1830, to make blooms for 
the Covington rolling mill. Bloom forge was built at Ports- 
mouth, in Scioto county, in 1832, and in 1857 a rolling mill 
was added. A forge called Benner's, on Paint creek, near 
Chillicothe, in Ross county, once owned by James & Wood- 
ruff, was abandoned about 1850. There never were many 
forges in Ohio for refining iron, and there have been few, 
if any, for making bar iron directly from the ore. The first 
iron enterprises in the State preceded by only a few years 
the building of rolling mills at Pittsburgh. 

The first rolling mill at Cincinnati was the Cincinnati 
rolling mill, built about 1830 by Shreeve, Paull & McCand- 
less. The Globe rolling mill was built at Cincinnati in 1845. 
Joseph Kinsey writes us that " it was the first built in Cin- 
cinnati for the purpose of making general sizes of merchant 
iron, hoops, sheets, and plates. It was built by William Sell- 
ers and Josiah Lawrence, and was considered a great enter- 
prise at that time. Soon afterwards a wire mill was added 
for the purpose of making the first wire used for the lines of 
telegraph extending through this country." There are now in 
Cincinnati and in its vicinity on the Ohio side of the Ohio 
river two rolling mills but no blast furnaces or steel works. 

Ohio is entitled to the honor of having had established 
within its boundaries the first successful works in the United 
States for the manufacture of crucible steel of the best quality. 
The proof of this claim is ample, and it will be presented in 
a subsequent chapter when we come to speak of this branch 
of our steel industry. The works alluded to were located on 
the bank of the Miami Canal, in Cincinnati, and were built 
in 1832 by two brothers, Dr. William Garrard and John H. 
Garrard, who were natives of England but residents of the 
United States after 1822. After the works were built Will- 
iam T. Middleton and Charles Fox were successively partners 
with Dr. Garrard, his brother having retired. Dr. Garrard 
was the inspiration of the enterprise and its master spirit 
during the whole period of its existence. The firm failed in 
1837, but the business was continued for some time afterwards. 
During the first five years the best crucible steel was made 


at these works by Dr. Garrard, entirely with American mate- 
rials. It was used for saws, springs, axes, reaper knives, files, 
and tools generally. 

The foregoing details relate to what may be termed the 
charcoal era of the Ohio iron industry. The second stage 
in the development of the iron industry of this State dates 
from the introduction in its blast furnaces of the bituminous 
coal of the Mahoning valley in its raw state. This coal is 
known as splint coal, or block coal, or as Brier Hill coal, from 
a locality of that name near Youngstown, where it is largely 
mined. The first furnace in Ohio to use the new fuel was 
built expressly for this purpose at Lowell, in Mahoning coun- 
ty, in 1845 and 1846, by Wilkeson, Wilkes & Co., and it was 
successfully blown in on the 8th of August, 1846. The name 
of this furnace was at first Anna and afterwards Mahoning. 
A letter from John Wilkeson, of Buffalo, New York, inform- 
ed us a few years ago that William McNair, a millwright, was 
the foreman who had charge of its erection. It was blown 
in by John Crowther, who had previously had charge of the 
furnaces of the Brady's Bend Iron Company, at Brady's Bend, 
Pennsylvania. Mr. Wilkeson and his brothers were for many 
years prominent charcoal-iron manufacturers on the Western 
Eeserve. They were of Scotch-Irish extraction. Their father 
was a native of Carlisle, Pennsylvania. 

Immediately after the successful use of uncoked coal in 
the furnace at Lowell many other furnaces were built in the 
Mahoning valley to use the new fuel, and it was also substi- 
tuted for charcoal in some old furnaces. At a later day the 
use of this fuel in other parts of Ohio contributed to the fur- 
ther development of the manufacture of pig iron in this State, 
and at a still later and very recent date the opening of the 
extensive coal beds of the Hocking valley and the utilization 
of its carbonate ores still further contributed to the same 
development, the Hocking valley coal being used in its raw 
state. At the present time, however, Connellsville coke has 
almost entirely superseded the use of raw coal in the Mahon- 
ing valley, and in the Hocking valley coke is now largely 
mixed with raw coal. 

The proximity of the coal fields of Ohio to the rich iron 
ores of Lake Superior has been, however, the most impor- 


tant element in building up the blast-furnace industry of the 
State. The use of these ores in Ohio soon followed the first 
use in the blast furnace of the block coal of the Mahoning 
valley. An increase in the rolling-mill capacity of Ohio was 
naturally coincident with the impetus given to the produc- 
tion of pig iron by the use of this coal and Lake Superior 
ores. David Tod, afterwards Governor of Ohio, bore a prom- 
inent part in the development of the coal and iron resources 
of the Mahoning valley. In a sketch of Youngstown, Past and 
Present, (1875,) we find the following notice of Mr. Tod's en- 
terprise in developing the coal trade of the Mahoning valley. 

In 1840 David Tod was operating a mine at Brier Hill, and upon the 
completion of the Pennsylvania and Ohio Canal from Akron, Ohio, to Bea- 
ver, Pennsylvania, he shipped a couple of boat loads to Cleveland for the 
purpose of introducing it as fuel on lake steamers, which was not easily 
accomplished, there being considerable hostility manifested towards it by 
engineers and firemen. Mr. Tod, however, was not to be discouraged by 
these difficulties, and finally succeeded in making a successful experiment, 
and in 1845 coal supplanted wood on the steamers on the lower lakes. 
Large quantities were subsequently mined and shipped to Cleveland from 
the Mahoning valley by Mr.' Tod, and but a few years elapsed until the 
mining and shipping of coal became a prominent industry; later the 
opening of the Cleveland and Mahoning Railway from Cleveland to 
Youngstown, traversing the heart of the coal region, gave fresh impetus 
to the mining interests. 

The beginning of the iron industry at Youngstown, which 
now has within its own limits or in the immediate vicinity 
fifteen furnaces and eleven rolling mills, dates from about 
1835, when a charcoal furnace, called Mill Creek, was built 
on a creek of the same name, a short distance southwest of 
the city, by Isaac Heaton, a son of James Heaton. There was 
no other furnace at Youngstown until after the discovery at 
Lowell that the block coal of the Mahoning valley could be 
successfully used in the smelting of iron ore. In a sketch 
of the history of Youngstown Hon. John M. Edwards says : 
" In 1846 William Philpot & Co. built in the northwestern 
part of Youngstown, adjoining the present city, and near the 
canal, the second furnace in the State for using raw mineral 
coal as fuel. In the same year a rolling mill was built in the 
southeastern part of the village, and adjoining the canal, by 
the Youngstown Iron Company. This mill is now owned by 
Brown, Bonnell & Co." 


In Youngstown, Past and Present, a more detailed account 
is given of its first bituminous furnace. It was known as 
the Eagle furnace, and was " built in 1846 by William Phil- 
pot, David Morris, Jonathan Warner, and Harvey Sawyer, 
on land purchased of Dr. Henry Manning, lying between the 
present city limits and Brier Hill. The coal used was mined 
from land contiguous, leased from Dr. Manning." The sec- 
ond furnace at Youngstown to use raw coal was built in 1847 
by Captain James Wood, of Pittsburgh. It was called Brier 
Hill furnace. There was a steam forge at Youngstown, called 
the Fairmount iron works, whose history antedates that of 
all the rolling mills of that place. We are indebted to Mr. 
J. G. Butler, Jr., of Youngstown, for the following circum- 
stantial account of this almost forgotten enterprise. 

The firm of Spencer & Co. operated a small steam forge about 1840 
on or near the present site of Smith's brewery, on West Federal street, 
Youngstown. They used a small upright boiler, with a brick chimney. 
The forge, after being operated for a time, failed to be profitable and was 
sold under execution to Mr. Asahel . Tyrrell, of Tyrrell Hill, Trumbull 
county, Ohio, now a station on the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern 
Railway. The forge was removed to Tyrrell Hill in the summer season, 
leaving the chimney standing. The succeeding winter, after snow had 
fallen, Mr. Tyrrell came to haul away the brick used in the construction 
of the chimney. To this Jonathan Edwards, (a lineal descendant of his 
great namesake,) who owned and leased the ground which Spencer & Co. 
occupied, objected, claiming that the chimney was fixed property, or a 
part of the realty. A law-suit grew out of the difference in opinion, and 
.two young lawyers were pitted against each other, both of these lawyers 
subsequently becoming famous ; one, the Hon. John Crowell, and the other, 
Judge Rufus P. Ranney. Mr. Tyrrell won his suit and the chimney was 
taken away. I get this information from old settlers and you may con- 
sider it reliable. 

The iron industry of Cleveland has been built up during 
recent years, and this city is now one of the most prominent 
centres of iron and steel production in the country. Charles 
A. Otis, of Cleveland, writes us as follows concerning the first 
rolling mills in that city : " The first rolling mill at Cleve- 
land was a plate mill, worked on a direct-ore process, which 
was a great failure. It went into operation in 1854 or 1855. 
The mill is now owned by the Britton Iron and Steel Com- 
pany. The next mill was built in 1857 by A. J. Smith and 
others to re-roll rails. It was called Railroad rolling mill, 
and is now owned by the Cleveland Rolling Mill Company. 


At the same time a man named Jones, with several associ- 
ates, built a mill at Newburgh, six miles from Cleveland, 
also to re-roll rails. It was afterwards operated by Stone, 
Chisholm & Jones, and is now owned by the Cleveland Roll- 
ing Mill Company. In 1852 I erected a steam forge to make 
wrought-iron forgings, and in 1859 I added to it a rolling 
mill to manufacture merchant bar, etc. The Union rolling 
mills were built in 1861 and 1862 to roll merchant bar iron." 
The first furnace at Cleveland was the first of the Newburgh 
furnaces, built in 1864. The Bessemer steel plant of the Cleve- 
land Rolling Mill Company was commenced in 1867. The 
open-hearth works of the Otis Steel Company Limited were 
built in 1873 and 1874. There are now in Cleveland nine 
rolling mills and steel works and five blast furnaces, as well 
as several iron and steel establishments of a reproductive 

In the list of persons connected with the development of 
the iron and steel industries of Cleveland the name of Henry 
Chisholm is the most prominent. Mr. Chisli9lm was born at 
Lochgelly, in Fifeshire, Scotland, on April 27, 1822, and died 
at Cleveland on May 9, 1881, aged 59 years. 

From 1846 to 1890 the iron industry of Ohio has made 
steady progress, and the State now ranks second among the 
iron-producing States of the Union. This was also its rank 
in 1870 and in 1880. In the production of steel it was third 
in the list in 1880, and this rank it has since maintained, 
Pennsylvania being first and Illinois second. 



INDIANA possessed a small charcoal-iron industry before 
1840, but at what period in the present century this indus- 
try had its beginning can not now be definitely determined. 
Tench Coxe makes no reference to it in 1810, but mentions 
one nailery in the Territory, which produced in that year 
20,000 pounds of nails, valued at $4,000. He does not locate 
this enterprise. In 1840 the census mentions a furnace in 
Jefferson county, one in Parke, one in Vigo, one in Vermill- 
ion, and three in Wayne county, the total product being 810 
tons of " cast iron." A forge in Fulton county, producing 20 
tons of " bar iron," is also mentioned. The furnaces of 1840 
were probably all used as foundries, producing hollow-ware 
and other castings from bog ores. 

In a chapter on the geology of Monroe county, by George 
K. Greene, printed in 1881, it is stated that "nearly forty 
years ago an iron furnace was erected by Randall Ross, of 
Virginia, on the lands of George Adams, of Monroe county, 
on section 7, township 7, range 2 west. The investment soon 
proved a failure, and the furnace has long gone to decay. 
The ruins of the 'old iron furnace' are to-day the mourn- 
ful monument of an early spirit of enterprise that deserved 
a better fate." 

The Fulton-county forge was only a bloomary. It was 
located at Rochester, and was built about 1840. It used bog 
ore, which was converted into bar iron. Dr. Ryland T. 
Brown, of Indianapolis, told us in his lifetime that it had 
a hearth about four feet square, with a stack about ten feet 
high, much like the stack of an ordinary foundry. There 
was an opening on one side large enough to admit of the 
process of puddling, from which the bloom of iron was tak- 
en and placed under the trip-hammer. The blast was sup- 
plied by a pair of bellows like the ordinary bellows of the 
blacksmith, but larger. The bellows and the hammer were 
driven by water-power. It was Dr. Brown's opinion that 


the Fulton-county forge possessed all the characteristics of 
a stiickofen, but Mr. D. S. Ross, who was still living at 
Rochester in 1891, informs us that the forge was "an open- 
hearth charcoal fire." He also informs us that the water- 
power at Rochester being insufficient the forge was removed 
"after a couple of years" to the Tippecanoe river, "at the 
point where the railroad crosses the river, two and a half 
miles north of Rochester." It was abandoned in 1858. The 
last iron made by it was bought by a Pittsburgh firm to be 
converted into carpet tacks. 

There was another early forge " in the Twin lakes 
country, in Marshall county," about 1845. It was built by 
Charles Crocker, afterwards the California millionaire, and a 
partner. The forge was located at Sligo. Mr. Crock er, had 
previously worked at a forge at Mishawaka, in St. Joseph 
county, which was owned by a Mr. Wilson. The bar iron 
made at these forges was largely used for wagon tires. Bog 
ore was used, as at Rochester. There were probably a few 
other bog-ore bloomaries in Indiana at an early day like 
those at Rochester, Sligo, and Mishawaka. 

In 1859 Lesley enumerated five charcoal furnaces in In- 
diana, as follows : Elkhart, in Elkhart county, date of erec- 
tion unknown ; Mishawaka, in St. Joseph county, built about 
1833; Indiana, a few miles northwest of Terre Haute, in 
Vigo county, built in 1839 ; Richland, on Richland creek, 
in Greene county, built in 1844 by A. Downing; and La 
Porte, near the town of that name, in La Porte county, built 
in 1848. Mishawaka, Indiana, and Richland were in opera- 
tion in 1857, but were abandoned about 1860. Elkhart and 
La Porte furnaces were idle in 1857, and probably had been 
abandoned at that time. Elkhart, La Porte, and Mishawaka 
used bog ore exclusively, and Richland used it in part ; in 
1857 Mishawaka was still using it. Indiana used brown 
hematite found in the neighborhood. 

In 1860 there was only one furnace in blast in Indiana 
Richland. It was probably abandoned in that year, and from 
this time until 1867 no pig iron was made in Indiana. In 
the latter year the manufacture of pig iron in this State was 
revived, the development of the block-coal district in the 
neighborhood of Brazil, in Clay county, having led to the 


belief that this fuel might be profitably used in blast fur- 
naces. Planet furnace, at Harmony, in Clay county, built in 
the summer of 1867 and put in blast in November of that 
year, was the first of eight furnaces that were built in Indi- 
ana between 1867 and 1872 to use this coal, the ores for the 
furnaces being mainly obtained from Missouri and the Lake 
Superior district of Michigan. Five of these furnaces were 
in Clay county. Of the eight furnaces built six have been 
abandoned and torn down since 1872, and only two now 
remain Brazil and Vigo. No furnaces have been built in 
Indiana since 1872. 

The first rolling mill in Indiana was probably the Indi- 
anapolis mill, built by R. A. Douglas, which was completed 
in the autumn of 1857 and put in operation in November 
of the same year. In 1858 Lesley says : " The machinery 
and building were planned by Lewis Scofield, of Trenton, 
New Jersey, who also built the Wyandotte mill and is build- 
ing the mill at Atlanta, Georgia." There were in 1883 eight 
rolling mills in Indiana two at New Albany, two at Terre 
Haute, and one each at Indianapolis, Greencastle, Aurora, 
and Brazil. The State contained no works in that year for 
the manufacture of steel. Early in 1891 there were thirteen 
completed rolling mills in Indiana. Connected with some of 
these rolling mills were a few small steel plants. The dis- 
covery a few years ago of natural gas in Indiana gave a 
fresh start to its rolling-mill industry and partly created its 
steel industry. At the works of the Premier Steel Company 
in Indianapolis the Adams direct process was introduced 
about the beginning of 1890. 



IN 1839 a small charcoal furnace was built four miles 
northwest of Elizabeth town, in Hardin county, in the ex- 
treme southeastern part of Illinois, by Leonard White, Galen 
Guard, & Co. It was called Illinois. This is the first furnace 
in the State of which there is any record, and it probably 
had no predecessor. In 1853 it was purchased by C. Wolfe & 
Co., of Cincinnati, who tore down the stack and built a larger 
one in 1856, with modern additions. In 1873 this furnace, 
after having been out of blast for several years, was repaired, 
but it was never again active. A charcoal furnace called 
Martha, also in Hardin county, was built in 1848 by Daniel 
McCook & Co. about two miles east of Illinois furnace. It 
was probably the second furnace in the State. Illinois and 
Martha furnaces were both in blast in 1850, but in 1860 Illi- 
nois only was in blast. Martha had not been in. operation 
since 1856, and it probably never made any iron after that 
year. It has long been abandoned. These furnaces were sup- 
plied with hematite ore from the immediate neighborhood. 

In the census of 1840 mention is made of a furnace in 
Cook county, one in Fulton, one in Hardin, and one in Wa- 
bash county. The furnaces in Fulton and Hardin counties 
were idle, the furnace in Wabash county produced eight tons 
of " cast iron," and the furnace in Cook county produced 150 
tons. As the census of 1840 sometimes confounds blast fur- 
naces with foundries full reliance can not be placed on the 
correctness of its statements concerning furnaces in Illinois. 
We have definitely ascertained that there was no furnace in 
Cook county in that year, and that the furnace with which 
it is credited in the census was Granger's foundry, the only 
one in Chicago at that time. 

There appears to have been no furnace in operation in 
Illinois from 1860 to 1868. Soon after the close of the civil 
war the attention of iron manufacturers was attracted to the 
Big Muddy coal fields, in the southwestern part of Illinois, 


and to the proximity to these coal fields of the rich iron ores 
of Missouri. In 1868 the Grand Tower Mining, Manufactur- 
ing, and Transportation Company built two large furnaces at 
Grand Tower, in Jackson county, Illinois, to use the Big Mud- 
dy coal in connection with Missouri ores ; and in 1871 another 
large furnace, called Big Muddy, was built at Grand Tower 
by another company to use the same fuel and ores. The two 
Grand Tower furnaces have been out of blast for several years 
and are now abandoned, but the Big Muddy furnace was in 
blast in 1881, since which year it has been idle. At East St. 
Louis the Meier Iron Company built two large coke furnaces 
between 1873 and 1875. These furnaces were in operation 
in 1882, their fuel being mainly Carbondale coke, from Jack- 
son county, Illinois, but they were never afterwards in blast. 
In 1890 they were removed to Big Stone Gap, Virginia. 

The iron industry at Chicago and its vicinity properly 
dates from 1857, when Captain E. B. Ward, of Detroit, built 
the Chicago rolling mill, on the right bank of the Chicago 
river, " just outside of the city." This mill was built to re- 
roll iron rails. It formed the nucleus of the extensive works 
afterwards built by the North Chicago Rolling Mill Com- 
pany. There was no furnace at Chicago until 1868, when two 
furnaces were built by the Chicago Iron Company. They 
were afterwards owned by the Union Steel Company. One 
furnace was blown in early in 1869 and the other late in 
the same year. Two furnaces were built at Chicago in 1869 
by the North Chicago Rolling Mill Company. No other fur- 
naces were built at Chicago until 1880, when seven new fur- 
naces were undertaken, three of which were finished in that 
year, two in 1881, and two in 1882. At Joliet, thirty-seven 
miles southwest of Chicago, the Joliet Iron and Steel Com- 
pany built two furnaces in 1873. They are now owned by 
the Illinois Steel Company. 

In 1883 there were seventeen rolling mills and steel works 
in Illinois, four of which were Bessemer steel works three at 
Chicago and one at Joliet ; two were open-hearth steel works 
one at Springfield and one at Chicago ; and one was a cru- 
cible stel works at Chicago. At the beginning of 1884 there 
were seventeen blast furnaces in the State, including the pio- 
neer furnace, Illinois, which has since been abandoned. 


In 1890 there were fifteen completed furnaces in Illinois 
and five more were in course of erection. In the same year 
there were seven standard Bessemer steel works in the State, 
four of which were owned by the Illinois Steel Company, 
which had absorbed in 1889 the business of the North Chi- 
cago Rolling Mill Company, the Union Steel Company, and 
the Joliet Steel Company. There was also a Robert-Bessemer 
steel plant in Illinois in that year. There were four open- 
hearth steel plants and one crucible steel plant. The whole 
number of rolling mills in Illinois was twenty-one, and two 
others were projected. 

In the aggregate production of iron and steel in 1880 
Illinois ranked fourth among the iron and steel producing 
States of the Union, making a great stride since 1870, when 
it was fifteenth in rank. The State has long been second in 
the production of Bessemer steel, and for a number of years 
it was third in the production of pig iron, but in 1889 it fell 
below Alabama as a producer of pig iron, Alabama taking 
the third place. This State draws its supply of iron ore 
from the Lake Superior region and its supply of coke al- 
most wholly from the Connellsville district in Pennsylvania. 



IF we could credit the census of 1840 there were fifteen 
blast furnaces in Michigan in that year one in each of the 
counties of Allegan, Branch, Cass, Kent, Monroe, and Oak- 
land, two in Calhoun, two in Washtenaw, and five in Wayne 
county. Some of these furnaces were doubtless foundries, 
particularly in counties lying upon or near to Lake Erie, 
vessels upon which could bring pig iron for these foundries 
from the neighboring States. Others were undoubtedly true 
blast furnaces, producing household and other castings from 
bog ores. All of the fifteen enterprises mentioned were in 
the southern part of the State. Their total production in 
1840 was only 601 tons of " cast iron." Neither forges nor 
bloomaries are mentioned in the census of 1840. 

From 1840 to 1850 the iron industry of Michigan certain- 
ly made no progress, and possibly declined. From 1850 to 
1860 a marked improvement took place. Three new furna- 
ces were built in the southern part of the State to use bog 
ore, and in the northern peninsula and at Detroit and Wyan- 
dotte a commencement was made in smelting the rich ores 
which had been discovered in the now celebrated Lake Su- 
perior iron-ore region. In 1859 Lesley enumerated the fol- 
lowing bog-ore furnaces in the southern part of the State : 
Kalamazoo, at the city of that name, in Kalamazoo county, 
built in 1857 to take the place of an earlier furnace ; Quin- 
cy, three miles north of the town of that name, in Branch 
county, built in 1855 ; and Branch County, one mile from 
Quincy furnace, built in 1854. All of these bog-ore furnaces 
made pig iron in 1857. It is a curious fact that furnaces to 
use bog ore should have been built in this State after 1850. 

The development of the Lake Superior iron-ore region 
marks an important era in the history of the American iron 
trade, and the incidents attending its commencement have 
fortunately been preserved. 

We learn from A. P. Swineford's History of tJie Lake Supe- 


rior Iron District that the existence of iron ore on the south- 
ern border of Lake Superior was known to white traders 
with the Indians as early as 1830. The same writer further 
informs us that the first discovery by white men of the iron 
ore of this region was made on the 16th of September, 1844, 
near the eastern end of Teal lake, by William A. Burt, a dep- 
uty surveyor of the General Government. In June, 1845, the 
Jackson Mining Company was organized at Jackson, Michi- 
gan, for the purpose of exploring the mineral districts of the 
southern shore of Lake Superior, and in the m summer of the 
same year this company, through the disclosures of a half- 
breed Indian named Louis Nolan and the direct agency of 
an old Indian chief named Man-je-ki-jik, secured possession 
of the now celebrated Jackson iron mountain, near the scene 
of Mr. Burt's discovery. It appears, however, that the repre- 
sentatives of the company had not heard of Mr. Burt's dis- 
covery until they met Nolan and the Indian chief. P. M. 
Everett, the president of the company, was the leading spirit 
of the exploring party which secured possession of this valu- 
able property.. The actual discovery of Jackson mountain 
was made by S. T. Carr and E. S. Rockwell, members of 
Mr. Everett's party, who were guided to the locality by the 
Indian chief. 

Referring to the iron ore of Jackson mountain in a letter 
written at Jackson, Michigan, on the 10th of November, 1845, 
Mr. Everett says that " since coming home we have had some 
of it smelted, and find that it produces iron and something 
resembling gold some say it is gold and copper." This 
smelting is not further described. In 1846 A. V. Berry, one 
of the Jackson Mining Company, and others brought about 
300 pounds of the ore to Jackson, and in August of that year, 
writes Mr. Berry, "Mr. Olds, of Cucush Prairie, who owned a 
forge, then undergoing repair, in which he was making iron 
from bog ore, succeeded in making a fine bar of iron from our 
ore in a blacksmith's fire, the first iron ever made from Lake 
Superior ore." Mr. Swineford says that " one end of this bar 
of iron Mr. Everett had drawn out into a knife-blade." 

In 1847 the Jackson Mining Company commenced the 
erection of a forge on Carp river, about ten miles from its 
mouth and near Jackson mountain. It was finished early 


in 1848, and on the 10th of February of that year the first 
iron made in the Lake Superior region was made here by 
Ariel N. Barney. Mr. Swineford says that the forge, which 
was named after Carp river, had " eight fires, from each of 
which a lump was taken every six hours, placed under the 
hammer, and forged into blooms four inches square and two 
feet long, the daily product being about three tons. The first 
lot of blooms made at this forge, the first iron made on Lake 
Superior, and the first from Lake Superior ores, except the 
small bar made by Mr. Olds, was sold to the late E. B. Ward, 
and from it was made the walking-beam of the side-wheel 
steamer Ocean." The forge was kept in operation until 1854, 
when it was abandoned, having in the meantime " made little 
iron and no money." 

In 1849 the Marquette Iron Company, a Worcester (Mas- 
sachusetts) organization, undertook the erection of a forge at 
Marquette, and in July, 1850, it was finished and put in oper- 
ation. Mr. Swineford says that " it* started with four fires, 
using ores from what are now the Cleveland and Lake Su- 
perior mines." It was operated irregularly until December, 
1853, when it was burned down and was not rebuilt. 

The Collins Iron Company was organized in 1853, with 
Edward K. Collins, of New York, at its head, and in 1854 it 
built a forge on Dead river, about three miles northwest of 
Marquette, and in the fall of 1855 the manufacture of blooms 
was commenced from ore obtained at the company's mines. 
This forge was in operation in 1858, after which time it seems 
to have been abandoned. 

Another forge on Dead river was built in 1854 or 1855 by 
William G. McComber, Matthew McConnell, and J. G. Butler. 
The company failed in a few years, and in 1860 Stephen R. 
Gay erected Bancroft furnace on the site of the forge. Before 
1860 every forge in Michigan appears to have been aban- 
doned. (Mr. Butler was the father of J. G. Butler, Jr., of 
Youngstowii, Ohio, the present general manager of the Brier 
Hill Iron and Coal Company.) 

It will be observed that all of the pioneer iron enterprises 
in the Lake Superior region were bloomary forges, the inten- 
tion evidently having been to build up an iron industry simi- 
lar to that of the Lake Champlain district. 


The first pig iron produced in the Lake Superior region 
was made in 1858 by Stephen R. Gay, who then leased the 
forge of the Collins Iron Company and converted it in two 
days, at an expense of $50, into a miniature blast furnace. 
In February, 1858, as we learn from the records of the Ameri- 
can Iron and Steel Association, Mr. Gay wrote to C. A. Trow- 
bridge that this furnace was " 2-J feet across the bosh, 8 feet 
high, and 12 inches square at the top and 15 inches square 
in the hearth," and would hold eight bushels of coal. He 
gives the following details of its first and only blast : " Began 
on Monday, finished and fired on Wednesday, filled with coal 
Thursday noon, blast turned on Friday noon, and thenceforth 
charged regularly with 1 bushel coal, 20 pounds of ore, and 
7 pounds of limestone. Cast at six o'clock 500 pounds, and 
again at eight o'clock Saturday morning, half a ton in all, 92 
pounds of which were forged by Mr. Eddy into an 85-pound 
bloom. This little furnace was run two and a half days, 
made 2^ tons, carrying the last eight hours 30 pounds of ore 
to a bushel of coal, equal to a ton of pig iron to 100 bushels 
of coal." These experiments were made in February. 

The first regular blast furnace in the Lake Superior region 
was built by the Pioneer Iron Company in the present city 
of Negaunee, convenient to the Jackson mine. It was com- 
menced in June, 1857, and in February, 1858, it was finished. 
Another stack was added in the same year. These furnaces 
took the name of the company. Pioneer No. 1 was put in 
blast in April, 1858, and Pioneer No. 2 on May 20, 1859. 
Both furnaces are now owned by the Iron Cliffs Company. 
They were burned and rebuilt in 1877. They were both in 
operation in 1883 and have since been active. The second 
regular blast furnace in this region was the Collins furnace, 
built in 1858 by Stephen R. Gay, near the site of the Collins 
forge. It made its first iron on December 13th of that year. 
It was abandoned in 1873, owing to the failure of a supply 
of charcoal. Other furnaces in the Lake Superior region soon 
followed the erection of the Pioneer and Collins furnaces. 
Mr. Swineford's history contains a record of these early en- 

While these early furnaces^and the few forges that have 
been mentioned were being built on the shore of Lake Supe- 


rior two furnaces were built at or near Detroit to smelt Lake 
Superior ores. These were the Eureka furnace, at Wyandotte, 
built in 1855 by the Eureka Iron Company, of which Cap- 
tain E. B. Ward was president, and put in blast in 1856 ; and 
the Detroit furnace, at Detroit, built in 1856 by the Detroit 
and Lake Superior Iron Manufacturing Company, of which 
George B. Russell was president, and put in blast in January, 
1857. These furnaces and the others that have been men- 
tioned used charcoal as fuel. 

The first shipment of iron ore from the Lake Superior re- 
gion was made in 1850, according to Mr. Swineford, and con- 
sisted of about five tons, "which was taken away by Mr. A. 
L. Crawford, of New Castle, Pennsylvania." A part of this 
ore was reduced to blooms and rolled into bar iron. " The 
iron was found to be most excellent, and served to attract 
the attention of Pennsylvania ironmasters to this new field 
of supply for their furnaces and rolling mills." Mr. Craw- 
ford informed us in his lifetime that he received at New 
Castle in 1850 about ten tons of Jackson ore which had been 
hauled around the falls of Sault Ste. Marie on a strap rail- 
road one and a quarter miles long. In 1853 a few tons of 
Jackson ore were shipped to the World's Fair at New York. 

The first use of Lake Superior ore in a blast furnace oc- 
curred in Pennsylvania. This important event is described 
in a letter to us from the late David Agnew, of Sharpsville, 
Mercer county, Pennsylvania, from which we quote as follows. 

The Sharon Iron Company, of Mercer county, Pennsylvania, about the 
year 1850 or 1851 purchased the Jackson mines, and, in expectation of the 
speedy completion of the Sault canal, commenced to open them, to con- 
struct a road to the lake, and to build docks at Marquette, expending a 
large sum of money in these operations. The opening of the canal was, 
however, unexpectedly delayed until June, 1855. Anxious to test the work- 
ing qualities of this ore the Sharon Iron Company brought, at great ex- 
pense, to Erie, in the year 1853, about 70 tons of it, which were shipped 
by canal to Sharpsville furnace, near Sharon, owned by David and John P. 
Agnew. The first boat-load of ore, on its receipt, was immediately used in 
the furnace, partly alone and partly in mixture with native ores, and the 
experiment was highly, successful, the furnace working well and producing 
an increased yield of metal, which was taken to the Sharon iron works and 
there converted into bar iron, nails, etc., of very superior quality. The 
second boat-load of ore was also brought to Sharpsville, but, having been 
intended to be left at the Clay furnfce, owned by the Sharon Iron Com- 
pany, was returned and used at that establishment. 


The historical interest which attaches to the first use of 
Lake Superior iron ore leads us to copy the following details 
concerning the Sharon Iron Company and its connection with 
the development of the Jackson iron mountain ore. Our au- 
thority is a pamphlet copy of the prospectus of the Sharon 
Iron Company, printed in 1852. We quote from the pam- 
phlet, (which is signed by J. B. Curtis, president,) as follows. 

The Sharon Iron Company was organized at Sharon, Mercer county, 
Pennsylvania, in 1850, with a capital of $70,0>0, under the general manu- 
facturing law- of the State. of Pennsylvania, and possesses a charter from 
that State. The manufacture of iron and nails was commenced in Decem- 
ber, 1850, and the mill is in successful operation at the present time. The 
company also own a blast furnace, with the necessary buildings, ore, and 
coal privileges now making forty-five tons of pig iron weekly, at a cost 
of eighteen dollars per ton situated one mile from the canal, and eight 
miles from the mill, which they purchased on very advantageous terms. 

The president of the company having visited the iron region of Lake 
Superior in the fall of 1850 became so impressed with the boundless extent, 
unrivaled richness, and great facilities of obtaining the ore of that region, 
(and the specimens he procured having proved, on test, the superior qual- 
ity and purity of the iron,) he recommended the company to purchase the 
Jackson mountain, as being the nearest, largest, and best location, a prop- 
erty owned by a corporate company, located in Jackson county, Michigan. 
This property consists of 640 acres of land, (the Iron mountain,) 200 acres 
lying between the mountain and lake, on which, there is a good water 
power, a forge for making blooms in operation, and twenty dwelling-houses, 
and also 60 acres of land at the harbor, on Lake Superior, called Iron bay. 
After several attempts at negotiation the president of the Sharon Iron 
Company, with others in interest, succeeded, in September, 1851, in pur- 
chasing a controlling interest in said property, obtaining 1,507 shares out 
of 3,000 at $15 per share, amounting to $22,605. 

The Sharon Iron Company have manufactured this season 150 tons 
blooms, made at the Jackson forge, into bar, boiler plate, nails, etc. They 
have readily sold the bar iron at $80 per ton, when common puddled iron 
goes begging at $50 per ton. It has been tested for steel wire and fine 
tacks, and proved equal to the best Swedes. 

In 1854, 1855, and 1856 Clay furnace, which was located on 
Anderson's run, nine miles west of Mercer, continued the use 
of Lake Superior ore, most of it mixed with native ore, and 
used in all until August, 1856, about 400 tons. " Up to that 
'date," as is stated by Mr. Frank Allen, its manager, " the 
working of it was not a success. In October, 1856, we gave 
the Clay furnace a general overhauling, put in a new lining 
and hearth, and made material changes in the construction 
of the same, put her in blast late in the fall, and in a few 



days were making a beautiful article of iron from Lake 
Superior ore alone." The fuel used at Sharpsville and Clay 
furnaces was the block coal of the Shenango valley. After 
1856 other furnaces in Pennsylvania and in other States be- 
gan the regular use of Lake Superior ore. 

David Agnew was born at Frankstown, in Blair county, 
Pennsylvania, on September 25, 1805, and died at Sharpsville, 
in Mercer county, on August 24, 1882, aged almost 77 years. 
His whole life was devoted to the manufacture of iron. 

Until about 1877 the mining of .iron ore in the Lake 
Superior region was confined to the territory in the immedi- 
ate vicinity of Marquette. Since 1877, and particularly since 
1879, a new iron-ore region has been developed in the north- 
ern part of Menominee county and the southern part of Mar- 
quette county, in Michigan, and in Florence county, Wiscon- 
sin. It is called the Menominee district. This region has 
proved to be very productive and the ore to be very pure. 

In 1884 the Vermilion iron-ore district, in St. Louis 
county, Minnesota, on the northern shore of Lake Superior, 
became a competitor with the Marquette and Menominee 
districts in the production and shipment of iron ore, and in 
the same year the Gogebic district, which lies west of the 
Menominee district and is partly in Michigan and partly in 
Wisconsin, also became a competitor. The shipments from 
the Vermilion district in 1884 aggregated 62,124 gross tons, 
and the shipments from the Gogebic district in the same 
year aggregated 1,022 tons. The total shipments of iron ore 
from the Marquette, Menominee, Gogebic, and Vermilion dis- 
tricts from 1884 to 1890 have been as follows, in gross tons. 

































In addition to the shipments above recorded there were 
also shipped in 1884 and 1885 a few tons of iron ore from 
a few small mines in Michigan which are not properly in 



any of the districts mentioned. These shipments amounted 
to 1,879 gross tons in 1884 and to 441 tons in 1885. Ship- 
ments from these mines do not appear to have been continued. 
From the Marquette Mining Journal we compile the fol- 
lowing table of the aggregate shipments from all the Lake 
Superior iron-ore mines for each calendar year since the 
commencement of regular mining operations in the region. 


Gross tons. 


Gross tons. 


Gross tons. 


3 000 


473 567 


1 908 745 


1 449 


491 449 


o 3Qg 5Q5 


36 343 

1869 . . . 

617 444 


2 965 412 


25 646 




2 353 288 




779 607 


2 518 692 


68 832 




9 466 372 


114 401 


1 162 458 


3 568 092 






4 730 577 






5 063 693 

186;? . 

203 055 




7 292 754 


243 127 




9 Ol 9 379 

236 *?08 


1 111 110 


78 796 


1 375 691 


57 149 082 

The iron ores of Lake Superior which are not used in 
Michigan are mainly shipped to Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, 
and Wisconsin. They have been shipped as far east as the 
Hudson river valley in New York for blast-furnace use and 
as far south as Alabama for use in puddling furnaces. About 
one-half of all the pig iron that is now manufactured in 
the United States is made from these ores. 

From the discovery of iron ore in the Lake Superior re- 
gion until 1883 there had been built on the upper peninsula, 
in the vicinity of the mines, twenty-five furnaces, of which 
thirteen had been abandoned. There had also been built at 
other points in Michigan, to use Lake Superior ore, sixteen 
furnaces, of which none had been abandoned in 1883. All of 
these furnaces, with the exception of two at Marquette and 
one at Detroit, were built to use charcoal, and the abandon- 
ment of many of them is attributable to the scarcity of tim- 
ber for fuel. Since 1883 there have been five furnaces built 
or restored in Michigan, while a few have been abandoned, 
the whole number of furnaces in the State at the beginning 
of 1891 being twenty-nine, all charcoal furnaces except one. 
Michigan has long been the first State in the Union in the 


manufacture of charcoal pig iron. Its largest production of 
pig iron, all made with charcoal, was in 1890, when 258,461 
net tons were produced. The three % bog-ore furnaces in Kal- 
amazoo and Branch counties have long been abandoned. 

In 1884 there w r ere three active rolling mills in Michigan : 
the Eureka, formerly the Wyandotte, at Wyandotte, built in 
1855; the rolling mill of the Baugh Steam Forge Company, 
at Detroit, built in 1877, the forge having been built in 1870 ; 
and the works of the Detroit Steel and Spring Company, at 
Detroit, which had recently commenced the manufacture of 
crucible steel. In 1891 the same rolling mills were still in 
operation, and a new one, built in 1890, was in operation at 
Muskegon. The Detroit Steel and Spring Company added 
a Robert-Bessemer steel plant to its works in 1889. In 1871 
a rolling mill was built at Marquette which has since been 
abandoned. In 1872 a rolling mill was built at Jackson, 
in Jackson county, but it was torn down in 1879 and the 
machinery removed to the mill of the Springfield Iron Com- 
pany, at Springfield, Illinois. 

Captain Ward was the most prominent of all the pioneer 
iron manufacturers of Michigan, his enterprise in this respect 
extending to other States than his own. 

In 1870 Michigan ranked eighth in the list of iron and 
steel producing States, and in 1880 its rank was the same. 
In 1890 it was the ninth in rank. 




THE census of 1840 mentions a furnace in " Milwaukee 
town," which produced three tons of iron in that year. This 
was probably a small foundry. In 1859 Lesley mentions' 
three charcoal furnaces in Wisconsin Northwestern, or May- 
ville, at Mayville, in Dodge county, forty miles northwest of 
Milwaukee and five miles from the Iron ridge, built in 1848 
by the owners of Mishawaka furnace in Indiana, and to 
which a foundry was added in 1858 ; Ironton, at Ironton, in 
Sauk county, built in 1857 by Jonas Tower ; and Black Riv- 
er, built in 1857 by a German company on the east bank of 
Black river, near the falls, in Jackson county. Of these fur- 
naces at least one, Ironton, was built to produce castings. A 
description of it in 1858 says : " It is a small blast furnace, 
capable of producing about three tons of iron per day, and 
intended for the manufacture of stoves, castings, etc." The 
Ironton furnace has recently produced castings as well as pig 
iron. The Mayville furnace is still in operation, having been 
rebuilt in 1872, but the Black River furnace has long been 
abandoned. In its stead there was erected in 1885 and 1886 
a modern charcoal furnace, known as the Minneapolis fur- 
nace, owned by the York Iron Company. There appear to 
have been neither forges nor bloomaries in Wisconsin in the 
census years 1840, 1850, and 1860. 

The furnaces which have been mentioned were all that 
Wisconsin could boast until 1865, when a charcoal furnace at 
Iron Ridge, in Dodge county, was built by the Wisconsin Iron 
Company. This was soon followed by several other furnaces, 
some of which were built to use native ores and some to use 
Michigan ores from Lake Superior. The Appleton Iron Com- 
pany built two furnaces at Appleton, in Outagamie county, 
in 1.871 and 1872 ; C. J. L. Meyer built a furnace at Fond du 
Lac in 1874, but it was not put in blast until the summer of 
1883 ; the Fox River Iron Company built two furnaces at 
West De Pere, in Brown county, in 1869 and 1872 ; the Green 


Bay Iron Company built a furnace at Green Bay, in the same 
county, in 1870 ; and the National Furnace Company built 
two furnaces at De Pere, in the same county, in 1869 and 
1872. All of these ftirnaces were built to use charcoal. In 
1870 and 1871 the Milwaukee Iron Company built two large 
furnaces at Bay View, near Milwaukee, and in 1873 the Mi- 
nerva Iron Company built a furnace at Milwaukee. These 
three furnaces were built to use anthracite coal and bitumi- 
nous coke and Lake Superior ores. A furnace called Rich- 
land was built in 1876 at Cazenovia, in Richland county, but 
was torn down in 1879. In 1883 there were fifteen furnaces 
in the State, twelve of which used charcoal and three used 
anthracite coal and coke. In 1890, however, the whole num- 
ber of completed furnaces had been reduced to ten, of which 
six used charcoal and four used coke. A new coke furnace 
was in course of erection at West Superior, in Douglas coun- 
ty. In 1887 and 1888 there was built at Ashland, in Ashland 
county, a charcoal furnace, 60 feet high by 12 feet in width at 
the boshes, which has made the best record in production of 
any charcoal furnace in the United States. This furnace is 
called Hinkle. Nearly all the old charcoal furnaces of Wis- 
consin have been abandoned. 

Wisconsin had no rolling mill until 1868, when its first 
and thus far its only active mill was built at Milwaukee by 
the Milwaukee Iron Company, of which Captain E. B. Ward 
was a leading member. This was from .the first a large mill. 
It was built to re-roll iron rails, but soon commenced the 
manufacture of new rails. In 1874 a merchant bar mill was 
added, and in 1884 a nail mill was added. This mill and 
the two Bay View furnaces were operated in 1883 by the 
North Chicago Rolling Mill Company, but they are now 
owned by the Illinois Steel Company. 

Within the last few years the mining of iron ore in Flor- 
ence county, Wisconsin, forming the western continuation of 
the Menominee district in Michigan, has been prosecuted with 
much activity. In 1882 there were shipped from this county 
276,017 tons of iron ore. But the greatest development of 
the iron-ore resources of Wisconsin has taken place since 1884 
in the Gogebic district, situated in the counties of Ashland, 
in Wisconsin, and Ontonagon and Gogebic, in Michigan, the 


statistics of which district have already been given in the 
Michigan chapter. The early charcoal furnaces of Wiscon- 
sin used poor ores, which were not at all comparable with the 
rich ores now obtained in the Gogebic and other districts of 
the Lake Superior region. 

Wisconsin advanced rapidly in the manufacture of iron 
in the decade between 1870 and 1880. In the latter year it 
ranked sixth among the iron and steel producing States of 
the Union. In 1870 it was twelfth in rank. In 1890 it had 
retrograded and was eighth in rank, being intermediate be- 
tween its position in 1870 and 1880. It has not yet produced 
any kind of steel. In 1890 the building of a Bessemer steel 
plant was, however, undertaken at West Superior, in Wis- 
consin. Its completion in the latter part of 1891 is promised. 



MISSOURI Jias an iron history which antedates its admis- 
sion into the Union in 1821. The celebrated iron district in 
Iron and St. Frangois counties, which embraces Iron Moun- 
tain and Pilot Knob, appears to have contained the first iron 
enterprise in this State. 

Mr. William A. Fletcher, of Ironton, clerk of the court of 
Iron county, writes us as follows : " There was once an iron 
furnace in the northeast quarter of section 3, township 33, 
north of range 4 east, on Stout's creek, just two miles east 
of the Ironton court-house. Some of the debris remains to 
be seen to this day. I can recollect seeing some of the old 
castings, in the shape of wheels, scattered around when I 
was a small boy some forty years ago." 

We are also in receipt of a letter from Mr. A. W. Hollo- 
man, of Arcadia, the county surveyor of Iron county for the 
last thirty-three years, who gives us the recollections of Mr. 
Leonard Sutton, an old settler, who distinctly remembers the 
iron enterprise on Stout's creek, which he styles Ashebran's 
furnace. Mr. Sutton says that the furnace was located on 
Stout's creek, about one and a half miles from the settle- 
ment of his father, who moved into the northeast corner of 
Iron county (then known as Upper Louisiana Territory) in 
1817. He further says that the furnace was built by a 
person named Ashebran and others about 1815 or 1816, and 
that he has often seen "the old shaft," to haul which requir- 
ed the efforts of twelve oxen. Mr. Holloman says that he 
has himself often seen the site of the furnace, or, as he terms 
it, the forge. Mr. Sutton adds that the ore for the furnace 
was obtained on Shepherd mountain, which was about three 
miles northwest of the furnace. Mr. Holloman says that there 
can be no doubt of the existence of this pioneer enterprise as 
early as 1815 or 1816. 

In a second letter from Mr. Holloman he says that Mr. 
Sutton tells him that " castings" were made on Stout's creek, 


" but mostly bar iron," and Mr. Holloman himself says that 
it is his own impression that " bar iron was what was most- 
ly made by this infant enterprise." Mr. Sutton further says 
that " on one end of the big shaft was a water-wheel and on 
the other end was a wheel so arranged as to lift the hammer 
which beat out the bars of iron." He intimates that a water- 
blast was used. In a second communication Mr. Fletcher 
states that he often heard his father speak many years ago 
of the bar iron that was hammered at Ashebran's works, and 
of Ashebran himself as a hammerman. The evidence seems 
to be conclusive that both castings and bar iron were made 
by Ashebran. Either a furnace and a refinery forge were 
cotemporary enterprises or a furnace and a Catalan forge 
were built at different periods. The works were located on a 
stream which furnished excellent water-power. 

Another early enterprise in Missouri of which we have 
obtained full information was a bloomary forge on Thicketty 
creek, a tributary of the Maramec river, in Crawford county, 
near the Washington county line, three miles south of the 
present town of Bourbon. Cresswell's mill was afterwards 
built about one hundred yards from the site of this early 
iron enterprise. The bloomary was variously styled Harri- 
son's furnace, Harrison's forge, Harrison's bloomary, and the 
Harrison iron works. The works were of a primitive char- 
acter, consisting of " a stone stack built into the hill so that 
it could be easily filled from the top. It was rudely con- 
structed of logs and rock." They were built in 1819 or 1820 
by William Harrison and Josiah Reeves, and were certainly 
in operation in 1820. Thomas Reeves was the forgeman. We 
are told that the bloomary " was built like a blacksmith's 
forge, only much larger, and was a water-blast. The ore was 
burnt, then crushed, and put into the forge with charcoal. 
The iron was made into long bars." It was used for wagon 
tires, mattocks, grubbing hoes, plowshares, horseshoes, etc. 
The bloom of iron was hammered under a spring-pole ham- 
mer on an anvil which rested upon " an anvil-block formed 
of a section of a tree four feet in diameter and buried mostly 
in the ground." The ore used was brown hematite mixed 
with blue ore ; it was hauled in ox-carts from the adjacent 
hills by Battle Harrison, a son of William Harrison. The 


works continued in operation for several years. They have 
* long been in ruins, as is also Cresswell's mill. 

For the above circumstantial information concerning the 
Harrison bloomary we are indebted to the politeness of B. F. 
Russell, Esq., editor of the Crawford Mirror, at Steelville, Mis- 
souri. Judge Robinson, who was reared in the Iron Moun- 
tain country, and who has been consulted by Mr. Russell, 
says that there was '"a log furnace" in Iron county which 
" was built about the time of the Harrison bloomary," thus 
confirming other information which we have given concern- 
ing that enterprise. 

A few years after the establishment of the Harrison 
bloomary a blast furnace, called Springfield, was built in 
Washington county, about six miles south of Potosi. The 
geologist G. C. Swallow is quoted by Lesley on page 597 of 
The Iron Manufacturer's Guide as follows : " The earliest at- 
tempt in Missouri, and in all probability in any of the States 
west of the Ohio, to smelt iron ore was in 1823 or 1824, when 
/a blast furnace was erected in Washington county by Eversol, 
Perry & Ruggles, between Potosi and Caledonia. This fur- 
nace was afterwards known as Perry's old iron furnace." The 
ore for this furnace was at first obtained from Claer creek, 
but afterwards " from near Absalom Eaton's place, and was 
mixed with ore brought from the Iron Mountain." Mr. Swallow 
continues : " In connection with this blast furnace were two 
forges. The first bar of iron made out of pig metal in Mis- 
souri, Colonel Mcllvaine says, was made on Cedar creek in 
May, 1825, and the first blooms were made in 1832." The 
enterprise here referred to was Springfield furnace, but it was 
not the first furnace in Missouri, as has already been shown. 

In the prospectus of the Missouri Iron Company, printed 
in 1837, we find it stated that Springfield furnace had been 
operated "for more than fifteen years " prior to that year. In 
that year the furnace was in operation, when it was called 
" a small furnace." A forge was then attached to it, and 
" a blooming forge " was promised " the ensuing year." The 
prospectus further states that " cannon balls, made from the 
Iron Mountain ore during the late war, after having been 
exposed for several years to the open atmosphere and rains, 
still maintained their original metallic lustre." The cannon 


balls referred to. would probably be used in the Black Hawk 
war of 1832. Mr. Russell tells us that cannon balls were 
certainly made for the General Government at Springfield 
furnace in 1832, citing as his authority a history of Craw- 
ford and Franklin counties in his possession. 

Maramec furnace, in Phelps county, about sixty miles west 
of Iron Mountain, was finished in January, 1829, and rebuilt 
many years afterwards. It was probably projected in 1826, as 
in that year the ore banks in the vicinity, about half a mile 
west of the Maramec river, w r ere opened by Massey & James. 
The ore was tested at Harrison's bloomary before the furnace 
was built. This old furnace was still standing a few years 
ago, but it was not in operation and has now tfeen abandoned. 
At an early day a forge was added to the furnace, to convert 
its pig iron into bar iron, and this forge, with eight fires, was 
also recently standing but. abandoned, its product being char- 
coal blooms. In 1843 a rolling mill was added to the furnace 
and forge, but it was " abandoned after one year's trial, be- 
cause of the sulphur in the stone coal obtained at a bank 
fourteen miles southeast." The Maramec furnace and forge 
were long called the Massey iron works. 

In the census of 1840 Missouri is credited with two fur- 


naces, one in Crawford county and one in Washington county. 
It is also credited with three forges in Crawford county and 
one in Washington county. The furnace in Crawford county 
was Maramec, Phelps county not having then been organiz- 
ed, and the forges in Crawford county were doubtless attach- 
ed to Maramec furnace. The furnace in Washington county 
was Springfield, and the forge was doubtless the one which 
was attached toHhis furnace. We do not hear of Springfield 
furnace and forge after this time. 

In 1836 the remarkable iron-ore mountains already men- 
tioned Iron Mountain and Pilot Knob attracted the atten- 
tion of some Missouri capitalists, and in the fall of that year 
the Missouri Iron Company, with a nominal capital of $5,000,- 
000, was formed to utilize their ores, the legislature charter- 
ing the company on December 31, 1836. In January, 1837, 
the company was fully organized under the presidency of 
Silas Drake, of St. Louis, who was soon succeeded by J. L. 
Van Doren, of Arcadia, but active work in the development 


of its property does not appear to have been undertaken until 
some years afterwards, when a few furnaces were erected at 
the foot of the mountains by other companies. In 1846 a 
furnace was built at the southwest base of Little Iron Moun- 
tain, which was followed in 1850 by another furnace at the 
same place, and in 1854 by still another. In 1849 a furnace 
was built on the north side of Pilot Knob, which was follow- 
ed in 1855 by another at the same place. These were all 
charcoal furnaces, and were exceptionally well managed in 
1857, when they were visited and described by Charles B. 
Forney, of Lebanon, Pennsylvania. At that time two of the 
Iron Mountain furnaces and one of the Pilot Knob furnaces 
used hot-blast. Of all these furnaces only one of the Pilot 
Knob furnaces is now left, and it was remodeled in 1879. 

In 1846 Moselle furnace was built at Moselle, in Franklin 
/ county, and in 1859 a furnace was built at Irondale, in Wash- 
ington county, both furnaces to use charcoal. These, with the 
furnaces previously mentioned, appear to have been all that 
were built in Missouri prior to 1860. Both the Moselle and 
the Irondale furnaces have been abandoned. Since 1860, 
and particularly since 1870, other charcoal furnaces have been 
built in Missouri, but most of these have been abandoned, 
only two of the new furnaces, Midland, in Crawford county, 
built in 1875, and Sligo, in Dent county, built in 1880, being 
now active. 

The iron industry of St. Louis appears to have had its 
commencement in 1850, when the St. Louis, or Laclede, roll- 
ing mill was built. It was followed by the Missouri rolling 
mill, built in 1854; by the Allen rolling mill, built in 1855; 
by the Pacific rolling mill, built in 1856; and by Raynor's 
rolling mill, built in 1858. 

In 1880 there were seven rolling mills in St. Louis, and 
there were then no others in Missouri. One of these, the 
Vulcan, built in 1872, w r as built to roll iron rails but after- 
wards rolled steel rails. Two other mills rolled light iron 
rails and bar iron. In 1882 there was one rolling mill less 
than in 1880, six in all, and there were seven in 1890, five 
in St. Louis. The Bessemer works of the Vulcan Steel Com- 
pany were built in 1875 and 1876. They and the rolling 
mill connected with them are now idle. They are owned 


by the St. Louis Ore and Steel Company. Missouri had no 
other steel works in 1883. In 1887 Mr. J. H. Sternbergh, of 
Reading, Pennsylvania, commenced the erection of bolt and 
nut works, to which was attached a small rolling mill, near 
Kansas City, and in 1889 a rolling mill of considerable ca- 
pacity was built at St. Joseph, to Avhich was added in 1890 
a Robert-Bessemer steel plant. 

St. Louis had no blast furnaces until 1863, when the Pi- 
oneer furnace was built at Carondelet, to use coke. It was 
in blast in 1873, but in 1874 it was torn down and remov- 
ed by the Pilot Knob Iron Company. In 1869 the Vulcan 
Iron Works, now the St. Louis Ore and Steel Company, 
built two furnaces, which were followed in 1872 by another 
furnace built by the same company. In 1870 and 1872 the 
South St. Louis Iron Company built two furnaces ; in 1870 
the Missouri Furnace Company built two ; and in 1873 Ju- 
piter furnace was built, but it was not put in blast until 
1880. These eight furnaces were all built to use Illinois or 
Connellsville coke and Missouri ores. Of the whole number 
only five are now standing, and not all of these are active. 

In 1871 a large forge, called the Germania iron works, was 
built at South St. Louis to make charcoal blooms from pig 
iron, but it has been abandoned for several years. In 1873 a 
forge was built at Kimmswick, in Jefferson county, which was 
enlarged and remodeled in 1877 by the Peckham Iron Com- 
pany, its product after the enlargement being charcoal blooms 
made direct from the ore. It was in operation in 1886, but 
has since been abandoned and dismantled. 

In 1883 there were nine charcoal furnaces and eight coke 
furnaces in Missouri, but in 1890 there were only three char- 
coal furnaces and five coke furnaces which could be regarded 
as active or likely to be active. From 1870 to 1880 the iron 
industry of Missouri was the prey of adverse circumstances, 
and in the latter year it lost the prominent rank it had held 
among iron-producing States. It ranked sixth in 1870, but 
in 1880 it had fallen to the tenth place. In 1890 it was thir- 
teenth in rank. The shipments of iron ore from Missouri 
to other States for many years averaged over 100,000 tons 
annually, but they have now greatly declined, and are so 
small that they do not attract any attention. 



TEXAS had one blast furnace before the beginning of the 
civil war. It was located in the extreme northeastern part 
of Cass county, and had been in operation for several years 
prior to 1859. In that year Dr. B. F. Shumard, State geol- 
ogist, said of this furnace that "it was erected several years 
since by Mr. Nash," whose full name was J. S. Nash. Dr. 
Shumard said that it had been " in nearly constant, and I 
believe profitable, operation up to the present time." This 
furnace continued in operation during the war. 

In 1859 the erection of a furnace about one and a half 
miles southeast of Hughes Springs, in the southwestern part 
of Cass county, was commenced, but the furnace was not 
put in blast until 1861. " Mr. Hughes built the furnace but 
never operated it, as the Confederate Government took charge 
of it soon after its erection." In 1863 the Sulphur Fork 
Iron Company built a furnace "on Horton's headright, just 
west of Springdale," in Cass county. " The furnace was built 
of brick, and was 34 feet square and 36 feet high." During 
the war a furnace was built about eight miles from Jack- 
sonville and three miles from the Neches river, in Cherokee 
county, which was known as Young's iron works, taking its 
name from Dr. Young, the president of the company which 
built it. This furnace was built of brown sandstone, and 
was 34 feet square at the base and the same number of feet 
high. About eight miles south of Rusk, in Cherokee county, 
were located Philleo's iron works, consisting of a blast fur- 
nace and foundry, which were also built during the war. 

While these furnaces were in operation during the civil 
war, partly in aid of the Confederate Government, other iron 
enterprises were undertaken in Texas. All these enterprises 
were ore bloomaries. Near Nechesville, in Anderson county, 
a bloomary was erected in 1863 by Dr. Charles Bussey and 
Joseph P. Griggs, with whom was afterwards associated Dr. 
J. B. Bussey. This bloomary was operated with steam-power 


" and two tub bellows, or blowing cylinders." Good iron was 
made with ore from a neighboring mountain and pine char- 
coal. The works were burned before the war closed. A 
bloomary called Montalbo was built about 1863 on the south- 
ern bank of Mount Prairie creek, eight or nine miles north of 
Palestine, in Anderson county, and about ten miles south of 
the Nechesville bloomary, which was operated by the Con- 
federate Government. " From the iron smelted there gun 
barrels and other munitions of war were manufactured." A 
short distance north of the Nechesville bloomary, in the vicin- 
ity of Kickapoo, the Confederate Government began the erec- 
tion of Kickapoo fcloomary, but, as far as can be ascertained, 
it was never completed. A bloomary, known as McLain, or 
Linn Flat, was built during the latter part of the war in the 
northern part of Nacogdoches county, about twelve miles from 
the town of Nacogdoches and six miles from Linn Flat. It 
was in operation eight months, and during that time made 
about 150,000 pounds of hammered iron bars. This bloom- 
ary, like the Nechesville bloomary, was burned. In addition 
to the bloomaries above mentioned another was undertaken 
by the Confederate Government a few miles east of Neches- 
ville, in Cherokee county, but it was never finished. 

Without an exception all the furnaces and bloomaries in 
Texas which have been mentioned were abandoned either 
during the civil war or soon after its close. 

For the information contained in the foregoing summary 
of early iron enterprises in Texas we are indebted to a valu- 
able paper contributed by E. T. Durable and to be found in 
the second annual report of the Geological Survey of Texas, 
published by the State in 1891. 

In 1869 a charcoal furnace was built five miles north of 
Jefferson, in Marion county, which went into blast in 1870 
but was rebuilt in 1874. It was in operation in 1880, and 
was then the only active furnace in the State. It was called 
Kelly furnace, after Mr. G. A. Kelly, the president of the 
Jefferson Iron Company, by which it was built. In 1882 it 
was sold to the Marshall Car Wheel and Foundry Company, 
which changed its name to Lou-Ellen furnace and operated it 
until 1885, when it was finally blown out. It was torn down 
in 1888. It used brown hematite ore found in the neigh- 


borhood. In 1883 a furnace was built by the State of Texas 
at Rusk, in Cherokee county, and called Old Alcalde. It 
was put in blast in February, 1884, since which time it has 
been almost continually in operation. A pipe foundry is 
connected with the furnace, and melted iron is run directly 
into water pipe of all sizes. These works are owned and 
operated by the State of Texas in connection with the State 
penitentiary at Rusk. In 1890 the Lone Star Iron Company 
built a large furnace at Jefferson, in Marion county, which 
was blown in in the spring of 1891. The name of the fur- 
nace is Jefferson. In 1890 the New Birmingham Iron and 
Land Company built a large furnace called Tassie Belle at 
New Birmingham, in Cherokee county, which was put in 
blast in the latter part of that year. In 1890 the Cherokee 
Iron Manufacturing Company commenced the erection at 
New Birmingham of a large furnace, at first called La Mas- 
cotte and now known as Star and Crescent, which would 
probably be completed in 1891. All these are charcoal fur- 

The first rolling mill in Texas was started at Houston in 
May, 1884. A small rolling mill at Fort Worth was built 
in 1890 and 1891 and put in operation in the latter year. 
The Houston and Fort Worth mills do not have puddling 

Texas is well supplied with iron ores, some of which are 
said to be of Bessemer quality, and for many years to come 
there will be no scarcity of timber for charcoal. Brown coal 
exists in many parts of the State, and good coking coal has 
been fo^nd in the southwestern portion. Much is expected 
from the promised development at an early day of the exten- 
sive iron-ore deposits of Llano and adjacent counties. From 
this time forth Texas is entitled to recognition as one of the 
promising iron-producing States of the Union. 




IN 1884 Minnesota had one charcoal furnace, situated at 
Duluth, which was commenced in 1872 and not finished un- 
til 1880. It was put in blast on July 12, 1880, and ran ir- 
regularly until 1883, after which year it was virtually aban- 
doned. It is now wholly abandoned. Its projectors failed, 
and after passing through the hands of creditors it was pur- 
chased by the Duluth Iron Company. It obtained its sup- 
ply of ore from the Lake Superior mines in Michigan. In 
1889 the Duluth Iron and Steel Company commenced the 
erection at Duluth of a large coke furnace, 75 feet high by 
16 feet wide, which has since been completed but had not 
been blown in early in 1891. In 1884 a small rolling mill 
was built and put in operation at Minneapolis by Strothman 
Brothers, but it was abandoned and dismantled in 1887. In 
1885 and 1886 Morgan, Williams & Co. built a small rolling 
mill at St. Paul, which was afterwards known as the Capital 
iron works, but it was not long in operation and has been 
abandoned. In 1888 and 1889 a more ambitious rolling- 
mill enterprise was undertaken at Duluth by the Minnesota 
Iron Car Company, and in the latter 'year it was put in op- 
eration. It was in active operation in 1890. The valuable 
iron-ore deposits in the Vermilion district of Saint Louis 
county, Minnesota, have already been referred to in the 
Michigan chapter. The ore of this district possesses the 
same general characteristics as that of Northern Michigan. 
Iron ore has been found in other counties in Minnesota. 

In 1857 a bloomary called Big Creek was built about six \ 
miles southwest of Smithville, in Lawrence county, Arkansas, 
by Alfred Bevens & Co. In 1858 Lesley describe* it as "a 
bloomary with two fires and a hammer, making 250 pounds 
of swedged iron per day per fire, with a cold-blast in Novem- 
ber, 1857, but has now a hot-blast, and is making perhaps 800 
pounds, using 300 bushels of charcoal to the ton of finished 


bars, made out of brown hematite ore." The bloomary was 
driven by water-power. It is not mentioned in the census of 
1860 or 1870, and has been abandoned. Mr. Clarke W. Har- 
rington, of Berry ville, Carroll county, writes us that in 1850 
an Englishman named Abram Beach built a bloomary in this 
county, which was in operation for a few years, when it was 
swept away by a freshet. It was succeeded by the " Hig- 
gins grist mill." The hammer used at this bloomary may 
now be seen on its site. Mr. Harrington says that "Beach 
made a large number of plow coulters, many of which are 
still in use." From the same gentleman we learn that old 
residents of Carroll county have a tradition that iron was 
once made in that county in hollow stumps of trees, which 
is not improbable, the iron ore of this county being a soft 
hematite, which could easily be reduced. Iron ore of the 
quality mentioned is very abundant near Berryville. We 
have no knowledge that any other iron enterprises than 
those above mentioned have ever existed in this State. 

Arkansas is, however, not lacking in the natural resources 
which are required for the production of iron. It has iron 
ore, coal, and limestone, and extensive forests of timber. 
In 1885 two companies commenced the development of the 
manganese deposits in the neighborhood of Batesville, in the 
northeastern part of this State, but their operations have not 
been very actively prosecuted. The total production of man- 
ganese in Arkansas in 1889 was 2,528 gross tons. 

In a pamphlet, entitled the Products and Resources of Ar- 
kansas, compiled by D. McRae, and published by direction 
of the Governor of Arkansas in 1885, we find the following 
reference to a deposit of iron ore which is found in South- 
western Arkansas. " Altogether the most remarkable and in- 
teresting mineral of all this region is the white malleable 
iron, regarding the existence and malleability of which a 
great deal of skepticism is said to exist. It is found in the 
corner of Howard county adjoining the frontier of Mont- 
gomery, f^olk, and Pike. During the war, it is stated on 
good authority, the inhabitants of the vicinity used to take 
the ore as it was picked up from the ground and in an or- 
dinary blacksmith's forge hammer it into horseshoe nails. 
The outcrop of this ore, as far as it has been explored, runs 


for two miles west to east, showing a width of from 15 to 
30 feet, with an unknown depth." 

Kansas had two rolling mills in operation in 1880, both 
of which were built to re-roll rails. One of these, at Rose- 
dale, in Wyandotte county, three miles from Kansas City, 
was then owned by the Kansas Rolling Mill Company. 
This mill was once in operation at Decatur, Illinois, where it 
was built in 1870, and whence it was removed to Rosedale 
in 1875. It is now owned by the Western Iron Company. 
It has been idle since 1882. The other mill was located at 
Topeka, and was built in 1874 by the Topeka Rolling Mill 
Company. This mill was burned in April, 1881, and was not 

In 1885 the Iowa Rolling Mill Company built a rolling 
mill for the manufacture of bar iron at Burlington, Iowa, 
and in the same year it was put in operation. In 1887 it 
was enlarged and in 1889 it was still further enlarged. It 
was idle in 1890. This is the only iron enterprise in Iowa. 

Nebraska had one iron enterprise in operation in 1880, 
a rolling mill and cut-nail factory at Omaha, owned by the 
Omaha Iron and Nail Company. These works were first 
built at Dunleith, Illinois, in 1875 and 1876, and were re- 
moved to Omaha in 1879 and considerably enlarged. They 
had -an annual capacity of 65,000 kegs of nails. These 
works have been abandoned. The machinery was removed 
to St. Joseph, Missouri, in 1888 and 1889. 

The first iron enterprise in Colorado was a small charcoal 
furnace at Langford, in Boulder county, in the northern part 
of the State. Its erection was undertaken in 1862 by a com- 
pany called Langford & Co., composed of A. G. Langford, 
J. M. Marshall, William L. Lee, and Milo Lee, and it was 
finished and put in blast in 1864. In 1865 it went out of 
blast and was soon afterwards abandoned. It is said that 
" in a two-months' run some 250 tons of pig iron " were pro- 
duced. Iron ore was obtained in the neighborhood and char- 
coal was burned " in the foot-hills." Mr. Marshall was the 
manager. The furnace was abandoned because oxen furnish- 
ed the only mode of transportation, which was too expensive. 
In 1861 the same company built a foundry at Denver, but 
during the next year it was removed to Blackhawk, in Gilpin 


county. The furnace at Langford was built to supply pig 
iroh for foundry purposes. Bituminous coal is now mined 
at Langford, and extensive deposits of iron ore are near at 

In 1877 a rolling mill was removed by William Faux 
from Danville, Pennsylvania, to Pueblo, Colorado, and put in 
operation on March 1, 1878, the product being re-rolled rails. 
In the same year it was removed to Denver. In 1880 this 
mill was purchased from the Denver Rolling Mill Company 
by the Colorado Coal and Iron Company. It was at work in 
1883, rolling bar iron as well as re-rolling rails. It was aban- 
doned in 1889. In 1880 the Colorado Coal and Iron Com- 
pany commenced the erection of a large coke furnace at 
Pueblo, Colorado, which was put in blast on September 7, 
1881. In the former year it also commenced the construction 
of Bessemer steel works at the same place, which were finish- 
ed in 1882. These enterprises formed the beginning of a very 
extensive and complete establishment, which now embraces 
two blast furnaces, Bessemer steel works, rolling mills for 
rolling steel rails, bar iron, etc., a pipe foundry, and a nail 
mill. The erection of a third blast furnace has been com- 
menced. Extensive coke works have been built by the com- 
pany at El Moro, Crested Butte, and elsewhere. At Gunnison 
the erection of two furnaces to use coke was undertaken by 
the Gunnison Coal and Steel Company in 1884, but the fur- 
naces were never built. At Trinidad, in Los Animas county, 
a rolling mill was built in 1888 and 1889 and put in opera- 
tion in April, 1889, to roll bar iron and light rails. 

The Union Pacific Railroad Company built a rolling mill 
to re-roll rails at Laramie City, Wyoming, in 1874, and put 
it in operation in April, 1875. It has ever since been in op- 
eration, but its products are now bar iron, mine rails, nuts, 
bolts, spikes, and track fastenings. 

In 1859 Lesley reported a forge in Utah Territory, " smelt- 
ing iron ore found in the mountains east of Salt Lake City, 
but no reliable information could be obtained respecting it." 
It does not appear in the census of 1860. Dr. J. S. Newberry 
writes that in 1880 he " visited the deposit of crystalline iron 
ore of Iron county, in the southern part of the Territory. 
These ore beds have been long known, and were to some ex- 


tent utilized by the Mormons in their first advent thirty years 
ago. The iron region referred to lies nearly '300 miles direct- 
ly south of Salt Lake City." In 1873 and 1874 the Great 
Western Iron Company, of which John W. Young was pres- 
ident, built a charcoal furnace at Iron City, in Iron county. 
It was in blast in 1874 and the two following years, but was 
afterwards abandoned and has had no successor. It was a 
very small furnace, being only 19 feet high and 4 feet wide 
at the boshes, with a daily capacity of 5 tons. The erection 
of a much larger furnace, also to use charcoal, was com- 
menced at Ogden City, Utah, in 1875, by the Ogden Iron 
Manufacturing Company, and was intended to use hematite 
and magnetic ores found in the neighborhood. The furnace 
was completed and put in blast in 1882, but was blown out 
after making a small quantity of pig iron, and has been 
abandoned. The same company commenced building a roll- 
ing mill at Ogden City in 1875, which was not completed 
until 1882. It appears to have never been put in operation. 
In 1884 the machinery was removed to Pueblo, Colorado, 
where it was added to the plant of the Colorado Coal and 
Iron Company. Utah not only contains extensive deposits of 
very pure iron ore in Iron county and elsewhere but it also 
contains plenty of coal in Iron and other counties, some of 
which is said to make good coke. 



CALIFORNIA has had for many years a complete rolling 
mill at San Francisco, owned by the Pacific Rolling Mill 
Company. It was first put in operation on July 25, 1868. It 
rolls rails, bar iron, angle iron, shafting, etc. An open-hearth 
steel plant was added in 1884, and the first steel on the Pacific 
coast was made on July 15, 1884. These works were in oper- 
ation in 1891, and have always been well employed. In 1881 
the Central Pacific Railroad Company built a rolling mill at 
Sacramento to roll bar iron and shaped iron. In 1883 the 
Judson Manufacturing Company completed and put in opera- 
tion a rolling mill at Oakland for the manufacture of bar and 
plate iron ; and in the same year the Pacific Iron and Nail 
Company completed and put in operation at the same place 
a large rolling mill and nail factory, with an annual capac- 
ity of more than 100,000 kegs of nails. At San Francisco 
there is an extensive shipyard for building iron and steel 
vessels, known as the Union Iron Works, at which large war 
ships for the United States navy have recently been built. 

The first vessel of iron or steel built on the Pacific coast 
was the Arago, a screw steamer of 828 gross tons. She was 
built by the Union Iron Works, of San Francisco, for the 
Newport Coal Company, of Coos bay, Oregon, and she was 
launched on April 2, 1885. This vessel was built entirely 
of steel, the steel shapes being rolled by the Pacific Rolling 
Mill Company, of San Francisco, and the steel plates by Car- 
negie, Phipps & Co., of Pittsburgh. Her compound engine 
is of 450 nominal horse-power. She has been steadily en- 
gaged in the coal trade between Coos bay and San Francisco. 

California has been unfortunate with her only blast fur- 
nace. The California Iron and Steel ^Company commenced 
in 1880 the erection of a charcoal furnace at Clipper Gap, 
in Placer county, where iron ore had been discovered, and 
the furnace was put in blast in April, 1881, and the first cast 
was made on the 24th of that month. It was burned down 


in 1882 and rebuilt in 1883 and again put in operation, but 
it has been out of blast since 1886 and may be regarded as 
abandoned. Its fuel was charcoal. Unless good coking coal 
should be discovered in California it is not probable that this 
State will ever make much pig iron, although it possesses 
many deposits of good iron ore, some of which are of Bes- 
semer quality. It is doubtful whether the Mexican inhab- 
itants of California ever engaged in the manufacture of iron 
even in the most primitive manner. In Lower California, 
just over the California State line, extensive deposits of rich 
iron ore and anthracite coal have recently been discovered. 

At Oswego, in Clackamas cotmty, Oregon, nine miles from 
Portland, a 'furnace to use charcoal was built in 1866 and 
1867 by the Oswego Iron Company and blown in on August 
27, 1867. It was enlarged in 1879 by other proprietors. In 
1883 it produced 7,000 net tons of pig iron. It was operated 
irregularly until 1886, when it was purchased by the Oregon 
Iron and Steel Company, which built a new furnace in 1888, 
abandoning the old one in the same year. The charcoal for 
both furnaces has been made exclusively from the fir tree. 

A furnace at Irondale, near Port Townsend, in Jefferson 
county, Washington, was built in 1880 and put in blast on 
January 27, 1881. It was rebuilt in 1882 and 1883 and re- 
modeled in 1884. It is still a small furnace. It was built 
to make charcoal pig iron from Puget sound bog ore mixed 
with Texada Island magnetic ore. It is owned by the Puget 
Sound Iron Company, of San Francisco. It has not recently 
been in blast. - In 1891 plans were in progress for the erec- 
tion of a furnace at Kirkland, near, Seattle. This State con- 
tains extensive deposits of hard coal, some of w r hich makes 
good coke, and as iron ores are to be found within its own 
borders and near at hand on British territory, some in Wash- 
ington just discovered, it is expected that other iron enter- 
prises will soon follow those which have been mentioned. 

THE States and Territories which have not been referred 
to in these pages are believed to have never been engaged in 
the manufacture of iron, although iron ore has been found 
in Louisiana and in some of the States and Territories of 
the Rocky Mountain region which have not been mentioned. 



A NOTICE in these pages of the first iron works in Cana- 
da will be read with interest, especially as these works were 
recently in operation. They are known as the forges of St. 
Maurice, and are located near Three Rivers, in the province 
of Quebec. Mr. A. T. Freed, the editor-in-chief of the Ham- 
ilton (Ontario) Spectator, informs us that iron ore in the 
vicinity of Three Rivers was discovered as early as 1667. 
In 1672 the Count de Frontenac reported that he had com- 
menced to mine the ore at Three Rivers. He strongly urged 
the establishment of forges and a foundry. In 1685 the 
Marquis de Denonville sent to France a sample of the ore 
at Three Rivers, which the French ironworkers found to be 
" of good quality and percentage." But no effort to establish 
iron works at this place appears to have been made until the 
next century, when the St. Maurice works were undertaken. 
Dr. T. Sterry Hunt, of Montreal, supplied us in 1880 with 
the following brief history of these works. 

King Louis XV. gave a royal license in 1730 to a company to work the 
iron ores of St. Maurice and the vicinity, and advanced 10,000 livres for aid 
in erecting the furnace, etc. No work being done he took back the license, 
and in 1735 granted it to a new company, which received 100,000 livres in 
aid and in 1737 built a blast furnace. In 1743, however, the works revert- 
ed to the crown, and were worked for the king's profit. *He then sent out 
from France skilled workmen, who rebuilt, in part at least, the blast fur- 
nace as it now stands, and ere'cted a Walloon hearth, which is still in use, 
for refining. The works became the property of the British Crown at the 
conquest, and were at first rented to a company and afterwards sold. 
Smelting has been carried on at this place without interruption to the 
present time, the bog ores of the region being exclusively used. Three 
tons of ore make one ton of iron. 

There seems to be no doubt that the stack is the one built in 1737, and 
it is still in blast. It is 30 feet high, and the internal diameter at the hearth 
is 2J feet, at the boshes 7 feet, and at the throat 3 feet. There are two 
tuyeres, and the blast is cold, with a pressure of one pound. The daily pro- 
duction of iron is four tons, and the consumption of charcoal is 180 bush- 
els, (French,) of about 12 pounds each, per ton of iron. The metal was 
formerly used in the district for ordinary castings, but is now in great de- 
mand for car-wheels. A very little is, however, refined in the Walloon 


hearth, and is esteemed by the blacksmiths for local use. The analysis of 
a sample of the gray pig of St. Maurice made by me in 1868 gave : phos- 
phorus, .450 ; silicon, .860 ; manganese, 1.240 ; graphite, 2.820 ; carbon com- 
bined, 1.100. 

In addition to the above information we find some facts 
of interest concerning the St. Maurice iron works in Peter 
Kalm's Travels into North America, written in 1749. 

The iron work, which is the only one iri this country, lies three miles 
to the west of Trois Rivieres. Here are two great forges, besides two lesser 
ones to each of the great ones, and under the same roof with them. The 
bellows w y ere made of wood, and everything else as it is in Swedish forges. 
The melting ovens stand close to the forges, and are the same as ours. The 
ore is got two French miles and a half from the iron works, and is carried 
thither on sledges. It is a kind of moor ore, which lies in veins, within six 
inches or a foot from the surface of the ground. Each vein is from six to 
eighteen inches deep, and below it is a white sand. The veins are surround- 
ed with this sand on both sides, and covered at the top with a thin mould. 
The ore is pretty rich and lies in loose lumps in the veins, of the size of two 
fists, though there are a few which are eighteen inches thick. These lumps 
are full of holes, which are filled with ochre. The ore is so soft that it may 
be crushed betwixt the fingers. They make use of a grey limestone, which 
is broke in the neighborhood, for promoting the fusibility of the ore ; to 
that purpose they likewise employ a clay marble, which is found near this 
place. Charcoals are to be had in great abundance here, because all the 
country round this place is covered with woods which have never been 
stirred. The charcoals from evergreen trees, that is from the fir kind, are 
best for the forge, but those of deciduous trees are best for the smelting 
oven. The iron which is here made was to me described as soft, pliable, 
and tough, and is said to have the quality of not being attacked by rust so 
easily as other iron ; and in this point there appears a great difference be- 
tween the Spanish iron and this in shipbuilding. 

This iron work was first founded in 1737, by private persons, who after- 
wards ceded it to the king ; they cast cannon and mortars here, of different 
sizes, iron stoves, which are in use all over Canada, kettles, etc., not to men- 
tion the bars which are made here. They have likewise tried to make steel 
here, but can not bring it to any great perfection because they are unac- 
quainted with the manner of preparing it. 

Mr. Freed says thdt the French company which establish- 
ed the St. Maurice iron works in 1737 was known as Ctignet et 
Cie. He also says that there was a French garrison at Three 
Rivers at the time, and that the soldiers were the principal 
workmen. He sends us a fcopy of a report made in 1752 to 
M. Bigot, Intendant of New France, residing at Quebec, by 
M. Franquet, who had been instructed to visit and examine 
the St. Maurice works. From this report the following liberal 
extract is taken. 


On entering the smelting forge I was received with a customary cer- 
emony ; the workmen moulded a pig of iron about 15 feet long for my es- 
pecial benefit. The process is very simple : it is done by plunging a large 
ladle into the liquid-boiling ore and emptying the material into a gutter 
made in the sand. After this ceremony I was shown the process of stove 
moulding, which is also a very simple but rather intricate operation. Each 
stove is in six pieces, which are separately moulded ; they are fitted into 
each other and form a stove about three feet high. I then visited a shed 
w r here the workmen were moulding pots, kettles, and other hollow-ware. 
On leaving this part of the forge we were taken to the hammer forge, where 
bar iron of every kind is hammered out. In each department of the forges 
the workmen observed the old ceremony of brushing a stranger's boots, 
and in return they expect some money to buy liquor to drink the visitor's 
health. The establishment is very extensive, employing upward of 180 
men. Nothing is consumed in the furnaces but charcoal, which is made in 
the immediate vicinity of the post. The ore is rich, good, and tolerably 
clean. Formerly it was found on the spot ; now the director has to send 
some little distance for it. This iron is preferred to the Spanish iron,Vnd 
is sold off in the king's stores in Quebec. 

In 1760 Canada passed into the possession of the British 
Government, and with it the St. Maurice forges. For nearly 
a hundred years the Crown leased these works to various 
companies, by which they were operated with more or less 

In 1815 the St. Maurice works were still in active oper- 
ation, as we learn from Joseph Bouchette's Lower Canada. 
They are thus, described : " The establishment is furnished 
with every convenience necessary to an extensive concern; 
the furnaces, the forges, the founderies, workshops, etc., with 
houses and other buildings, present the appearance of a tol- 
erably sized village. The principal articles manufactured are 
stoves of all kinds used in the province, large potash kettles, 
machines for mills, and various kinds of cast and wrought 
iron ; also a great quantity of pig and bar iron for exporta- 
tion. The number of men employed fe from 250 to 300." 

The St. Maurice works remained in the ownership of the 
British Government until 1846, when they were sold to 
Henry Stuart. A report to the Dominion Parliament in 1879 
says that they were then owned by F. McDougall & Son, of 
Three Rivers, and were using bog ore and making good iron 
with charcoal. " The first furnace was erected in 1737 ; still 
running ; capacity four tons." 

In a valuable paper on the manufacture of iron in Can- 


ada, read at the Halifax meeting of the American Institute 
of Mining Engineers in September, 1885, Mr. James Herbert 
Bartlett, of Montreal, recorded in the following words the end 
of the long career of the blast furnace of 1737 which was 
connected with the St. Maurice forges : " The property is now 
owned by George McDougall, of Three Rivers, the furnace 
having been in blast until the summer of 1883, when, owing 
to the ore and fuel becoming exhausted, it was finally closed." 

At the time of its abandonment in 1883 the St. Maurice 
furnace was the oldest active furnace on the American continent. 
In that year there were still standing two very old furnaces 
in the United States Oxford, in New Jersey, and Cornwall, 
in Pennsylvania, both built in 1742, but neither of these fur- 
naces was in blast in 1883. They were last in blast in 1882. 
Since that year Oxford furnace has been abandoned, but 
Cornwall is still standing and in good repair. 

Canada has had a few other iron enterprises and a few steel 
works, but it has never been prominent as a manufacturer 
of either iron or steel. Of late, however, much interest has 
been taken by Canadians in the development of the iron and 
steel resources of the , Dominion, and in this movement the 
people of the United States will heartily sympathize. 

IT would not be profitable to give such fragmentary in- 
formation as is at our command concerning the very small 
iron industry of Mexico and Central and South America. 




THE details which have been given in preceding chapters 
of the early ir.on history of every part of the United States 
relate almost entirely to the manufacture of iron with char- 
coal as fuel, no other fuel having been used in American 
blast furnaces until about 1840, and but little use of any 
other fuel having been made before that time in any other 
branches of the American iron industry. The period of our 
iron history prior to 1840 may therefore very properly be 
styled the charcoal era. The later development of the iron 
and steel industries of the United States will be generally 
instead of provincially or geographically treated in the pres- 
ent chapter and in succeeding chapters. 

The line which separates the charcoal era of our iron his- 
tory from the era which succeeded it, and which may be said 
to still continue, is marked by the almost simultaneous intro- 
duction of anthracite and bituminous coal in the manufact- 
ure of pig iron. This innovation at once caused a revolution 
in the whole iron industry of the country. Facilities for the 
manufacture of iron were increased; districts which had been 
partly closed to this industry because of a scarcity of timber 
for the supply of charcoal were now fully opened to it ; and 
the cheapening of prices, which was made possible by the 
increased production and the increased competition, served to 
stimulate consumption. A notable result of the introduction 
of mineral fuel was that, while it restricted the production 
of charcoal pig iron in the States which, like Pennsylvania, 
possessed the new fuel, it did not injuriously affect the pro- 
duction of charcoal pig iron in other States. Some of these 
States, notably Michigan, which scarcely possessed an iron in- 
dustry of any kind in 1840, now manufacture large quantities 
of charcoal pig iron. The country at large now annually 
makes more charcoal pig iron than it did in 1840 or in any 
preceding year. Our production of charcoal pig iron in 1890 


was the largest in our history. The introduction of mineral 
fuel did not, therefore, destroy our charcoal-iron industry, 
but simply added to our resources for the production of iron. 
This introduction, however, marked such radical changes in 
our iron industry, and so enlarged the theatre of this indus- 
try, that we are amply justified in referring to it as a revolu- 
tion, and as one which ended the distinctive charcoal era. 

Of the two forms of mineral fuel, anthracite and bitumi- 
nous coal, anthracite was the first to be largely used in Ameri- 
can blast furnaces, and for many years after its adaptability 
to the smelting of iron ore was established it was in greater 
demand for this purpose than bituminous coal, coked or un- 
coked. In recent years the relative popularity of these two 
fuels for blast-furnace use has been exactly reversed. 

The natural difficulties in the way of the successful intro- 
duction of anthracite coal in our blast furnaces were increas- 
ed by the fact that, up to the time when we commenced our 
experiments in its use, no other country had succeeded in 
using it as a furnace fuel. We had, therefore, no other guide 
in its use than our own unaided intelligence. The successive 
steps by which we were enabled to add the manufacture of 
anthracite pig iron to that of charcoal pig iron will be pre- 
sented in chronological order. 

In the suit of Farr & Kunzi against the Schuylkill Nav- 
igation Company in 1840 Jesse B. Quinby testified that in 
1815 he used anthracite coal for a short time at Harford 
fufnace, in Maryland, mixed with one-half charcoal. Between 
1824 and 1828 Peter Bitner, whose brother, Joseph Bitner, 
was afterwards Governor of Pennsylvania, was successful for 
a short time in using anthracite coal mixed with charcoal in 
a charcoal furnace in Perry county, Pennsylvania. In 1826 
the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company erected at Mauch 
Chunk, in Pennsylvania, a small furnace intended to use an- 
thracite coal in smelting iron ore. The enterprise was not 
successful. In 1827 unsuccessful experiments in smelting 
iron ore with anthracite coal from Bhode Island were made 
at one of the small blast furnaces at Kingston, in Plymouth 
county, Massachusetts. In 1827 and 1828 a similar failure 
in the use of anthracite coal took place at Vizille, in France. 
These experiments failed because the blast used was cold. 


In 1828 James B. Neilson, of Scotland, obtained a patent 
for the use of hot air in the smelting of iron ore in blast 
furnaces, and in 1829 pig iron was made in several Scotch 
furnaces with the apparatus which he had invented. But the 
coal used was bituminous. It was not until 1837 that the 
smelting of iron ore with anthracite coal by means of the 
hot-blast invented by Neilson was undertaken in Great Brit- 
ain. In the meantime the application of the hot-blast to 
anthracite coal in American furnaces was successfully experi- 
mented with by an enterprising American citizen, the Rev. 
Dr. Frederick W. Geissenhainer, a Lutheran clergyman of 
New York city. A copy in his own handwriting of a letter 
written by him in November, 1837, to the Commissioner of 
Patents gives some interesting and valuable details concern- 
ing his experiments. In this letter, which we have lying 
before us, he says : " I can prove that, in the month of De- 
cember, 1830, and in the months of January, February, and 
March, 1831, I had already invented and made many suc- 
cessful experiments, as well with hot air as with an atmos- 
pheric air blast, to smelt iron ore with anthracite coal in my 
small experimenting furnace here in the city of New York." 

On the 5th of September, 1831, Dr. Geissenhainer filed in 
the Patent Office at Washington an account of his invention, 
for which he claimed a patent. On the 19th of December, 
1833, a patent was granted to him for " a new and useful im- 
provement in the manufacture of iron and steel by the ap- 
plication of anthracite coal." From the long and remarkably 
clear and learned specification by the Doctor, w r hich accom- 
panied the patent, we learn that he discovered that iron ore 
could be smelted with anthracite coal by applying " a blast, 
or a column, or a stream, or current of air in or of such 
quantity, velocity, and density or compression as the com- 
pactness or density and the continuity of the anthracite coal 
requires. The blast may be of common atmospheric or of 
heated air. Heated air I should prefer in an economical point 
of view." 

The Doctor distinctly disclaims in his specification " an 
exclusive right of the use of heated air for any kind of fuel," 
from which it is to be inferred that he had full knowledge of 
Neilson's experiments with hot air in Scotland. He specif- 


ically claimed as his invention the adaptability of anthracite 
coal to the manufacture of iron and steel, and he appears 
to have largely relied for success upon the effect of a strong 

The patent having been granted, Dr. Geissenhainer pro- 
ceeded to build a furnace for the practical application of his 
invention. This was Valley furnace, located on Silver creek, 
in Schuylkill county, Pennsylvania, about ten miles northeast 
of Pottsville.. In August and September, 1836, he was suc- 
cessful in making pig iron at this furnace exclusively with 
anthracite coal as fuel. His own testimony on this point is 
given in the letter from which we have already quoted. The 
blast used varied from 3^ to 3J, to 3, and to 2f pounds to the 
square inch. That the furnace did not continue to make 
iron after the autumn of 1836 is explained by Dr. Geissen- 
hainer to have been due to an accident to its machinery. He 
adds : " My furnace would have been put in operation again 
long before this time with strong iron machinery, and a hot- 
air apparatus, had I not been prevented by the pressure of the 
times and by a protracted severe sickness from bestowing my 
attention to this matter. The drawings for the iron machin- 
ery and for the hot-air apparatus are already in the hands 
of Messrs. Hay wood & Snyder, in Pottsville, who are to do 
the work." The blast used at Valley furnace was heated. 

The quantity of pig iron made at Valley furnace is not 
stated by the Doctor. It probably did not exceed a few tons. 
Governor Ritner visited the furnace on July 30, 1836, while 
the Doctor's experiments were in progress. In the Pottsville 
Miners' Journal for August 6, 1836, it is stated that speci- 
mens of Dr. Geissenhainer's pig iron were then on exhibi- 
tion at Pennsylvania Hall in Pottsville. 

Before the Doctor's plans for improving his furnace were 
completed he was called to another world. He died at New 
York on the 27th of May, 1838, aged 66 years and 11 months. 
He was born at Muhlberg, in the Electorate of Saxony, in 
1771, and came to this country when he was about 18 years 
old. His remains rest in the family burial vault in the Lu- 
theran cemetery, in Queens county, New York. 

Prior to the erection of Valley furnace Dr. Geissenhainer 
had been engaged in the development of the iron and coal 


resources of Pennsylvania. As early as 1811 he was associ- 
ated with Peter Karthaus, of Baltimore, in the mining of bi- 
tuminous coal in Clearfield county, and a few years later in 
the ownership of a charcoal furnace in that county. For two 
or three years prior to 1830 he owned and operated a small 
charcoal furnace in Schuylkill county, and it was near this 
furnace that he afterwards built Valley furnace. Attached 
to the charcoal furnace was a puddling furnace. He was the 
pioneer in the development of the Silver creek anthracite 
coal mines, the projector of the Schuylkill Valley Railroad, 
and the sole owner of the Silver Creek Railroad. Dr. Geis- 
senhaiher was, as has been seen, a man of great enterprise. 
His memory as the first manufacturer of pig iron with an- 
thracite coal and the hot-blast, even if only in a small way, 
is entitled to greater honor than it has yet received. 

On the 28th of September, 1836, when Dr. Geissenhainer's 
Valley furnace was successfully making pig iron, and almost 
three years after the Doctor had obtained a patent for his in- 
vention, George Crane, the owner of several furnaces at Ynis- 
cedwin, in South Wales, obtained a patent from the British 
Government for the application of the hot-blast to the smelt- 
ing of iron ore with anthracite coal. On the 7th of February, 
1837, he successfully commenced the use of anthracite with 
the hot-blast at one of his furnaces, obtaining 36 tons a week. 
In May of that year Solomon W. Roberts, of Philadelphia, 
visited his works and witnessed the complete success of the 
experiment, which was the first successful experiment with 
anthracite coal in a blast furnace in Europe. It was through 
Mr. Roberts's representations to his uncle, Josiah White, and 
to Erskine Hazard and others that the first successful an- 
thracite furnace in the Lehigh valley was built at Catasau- 
qua in 1839 and 1840 by the Lehigh Crane Iron Company. 

Solomon White Roberts was born in Philadelphia on Au- 
gust 3, 1811, and died in the same city on March 22, 1882. 
He is buried in Woodlands cemetery, in West Philadelphia. 

Mr. Crane endeavored to obtain a patent in this country 
for his application of the hot-blast to anthracite coal in the 
blast furnace, but was unsuccessful, Dr. Geissenhainer's patent 
covering the same principle. The Doctor's patent, which was 
only for the United States, was sold by his executors in 1838 


to Mr. Crane, who in November of that year patented in this 
country some additions to it. The patents were not generally 
enforced here, but Mr. Crane compelled Welsh ironmasters 
to pay him for the use of his invention. Dr. Geissenhainer 
never attempted to enforce his patent. The consideration 
which his executors received from . Mr. Crane was $1,000 
and the privilege of erecting, free of royalty, fifteen furnaces 
for the use of anthracite coal with the hot-blast. The follow- 
ing advertisement by Mr. Crane's agents in this country we 
take from a Philadelphia newspaper published in December, 
1839, over fifty years ago. 

ANTHRACITE IRON. The subscribers, agents of George Crane, Esq., are 
prepared to grant licenses for the manufacture of iron with anthracite coal, 
under the patent granted to Mr. Crane by the United States, for smelting 
iron with the above fuel, in addition to which Mr. Crane holds an assign- 
ment of so much of the patent granted to the late Reverend Dr. Geissen- 
hainer as pertains to making iron with anthracite coal. The charge will be 
25 cents per ton on all thus manufactured. It has been completely success- 
ful both in Wales and at Pottsville, one furnace at the latter place yielding 
an average product of 40 tons per week of excellent iron. All persons are 
cautioned against infringing upon either of the above patents. Any appli- 
cation of hot-blast in the smelting of iron ore with anthracite coal, without 
a license, will be an infringement, and will be treated accordingly. 
Apply to A. G. RALSTON & Co., 

dec 9 1m 4 South Front st. 

We shall refer hereafter to the furnace at Pottsville which 
had made "40 tons per week" with anthracite coal. 

George Crane was born about 1784 at Bromsgrove, in Wor- 
cestershire, England, whence he removed in 1824 to Wales. 
He died on the 10th of January, 1846, in the 62d year of his 
age. An obituary notice of Mr. Crane, written by Solomon 
W. Roberts, is printed in the Journal of the Franklin Institute 
for March, 1846. 

Two interesting experiments in the use of anthracite coal 
in the blast furnace were made in this country about the 
time when Dr. Geissenhainer succeeded with his experiment 
at Valley furnace. In 1836 and 1837 John Pott experimented 
at Manheim furnace, at Cressona, in Schuylkill county, with 
anthracite coal as a fuel for smelting iron ore. He first used 
a mixture of anthracite -coal and charcoal with cold-blast. 
The results accomplished were so encouraging that he added 
a hot-blast and gradually reduced the proportion of charcoal 


until only anthracite was used. This he used alone and suc- 
cessfully for a short time. But the blast was too weak, and 
the furnace was not long in operation. Before the necessary 
improvements could be made it was destroyed by a freshet. 
In 1837 Jarvis Van Buren, acting for a company, built a fur- 
nace at South Easton, m Northampton county, for the pur- 
pose of experimenting with anthracite coal. Early in 1838 
he was successful in making 20 tons of pig iron, when further 
operations were stopped because the blast was too weak. We 
are not informed whether it was hot or cold. 

It is claimed that a successful experiment in the manu- 
facture of pig iron with anthracite coal was made in 1837 by 
a Mr. Bryant in a foundry cupola at Manayunk, near Phila- 
delphia. The blast used was produced by " wooden bellows." 
A few tons of the iron made were used by Parke & Tiers, 
the owners of the foundry, " and proved to be of good gray 
quality and of uncommon strength." The experiment was 
conducted under the auspices of this firm and of Mr. Abra- 
ham Kunzi, of the firm of Farr & Kunzi, manufacturing 
chemists, of Philadelphia. The blast was cold. 

The record which we shall now give of the successful use 
of anthracite coal in American furnaces, after Dr. Geissen- 
hainer and George Crane had established the practicability 
of such use, will embrace only a few of the early anthracite 
furnaces, and this we condense from Walter R. Johnson's 
Notes on the Use of Anthracite, published in 1841, and from 
William Firmstone's " Sketch of Early Anthracite Furnaces," 
published in the third volume of the Transactions of the Amer- 
ican Institute of Mining Engineers. In each of the instances to 
be referred to, all in Pennsylvania, the blast used was heated. 

Late in 1837 Joseph Baughman, Julius Guiteau, and Hen- 
ry High, of Reading, experimented in smelting iron ore with 
anthracite coal in the old furnace of the Lehigh Coal and 
Navigation Company at Mauch Chunk, using about 80 per 
cent, of anthracite. The results were so encouraging that 
they built a small water-power furnace near the weigh-lock 
at Mauch Chunk, which was completed in July, 1838. Blast 
was applied to this furnace on August 27th and discontinued 
on September 10th, the temperature being heated to about 
200 Fahrenheit. The fuel used was mainly but not entirely 


anthracite. A new heating apparatus was procured, placed in 
a brick chamber at the tunnel-head, and heated by the flame 
therefrom. Blast was applied in November, 1838, the fuel 
used being anthracite exclusively, and a the furnace worked 
remarkably well for five weeks " to January 12, 1839, when 
it was blown out for want of ore. Some improvements were 
made, and on July 26, 1839, the furnace w r as again put in 
blast, and so continued until November 2, 1839. Francis C. 
Lowthorp, of Trenton, was one of the partners at this time. 
For " about three months " no other fuel than anthracite was 
used, the temperature of the blast being from 400 to 600. 
About 100 tons of iron were made. Mr. Lowthorp died at 
Trenton on June 1, 1890, aged 81 years. 

The next furnace to use anthracite was the Pioneer, built 
in 1838 and 1839 at Pottsville by William Lyman, of Boston, 
under the auspices of Burd Patterson, an enterprising citizen 
of Pottsville, who inaugurated the enterprise. Until 1844 
Pioneer furnace was called Pottsville. Blast was unsuccess- 
fully applied on July 10, 1839. Benjamin Perry then took 
charge of the furnace, and blew it in on October 19, 1839, 
with perfect success. This furnace was blown by steam-pow- 
er. The blast was heated with anthracite, in ovens at the 
base of the furnace, to a temperature of 600. The product 
was about 28 tons a week of good foundry iron. This fur- 
nace continued in blast for some time. A large premium 
was paid by Nicholas Biddle and others to Mr. Lyman as the 
first person in the United States who had made anthracite 
pig iron continuously for three months. On January 18th, 
1840, a dinner was given to Mr. Lyman at Pottsville in hon- 
or of the important event, at which a notable address was 
delivered by Mr. Biddle. Pioneer furnace was practically 
rebuilt in 1853, torn down in 1866, and again rebuilt. In 
April, 1888, the hot-blast fell down, and the furnace was torn 
down in 1889 and a new furnace built in its stead. Other 
furnaces and a large rolling mill and steel works, owned by 
the Pottsville Iron and Steel Company, have been added to 
the original furnace and its successors. 

We have before us the original agreement between Rob- 
ert Ralston, attorney in fact for George Crane, and William 
Lyman, which conveyed to the latter a license to use Crane 


and Geissenhainer's patents for the use of anthracite coal in 
the manufacture of pig iron. It is dated at Philadelphia, 
on December 4, 1839, and the consideration named is twenty- 
five cents per ton of pig iron made. 

Danville furnace, in Montour county, was successfully 
blown in with anthracite in April, 1840, producing 35 tons 
of pig iron weekly with steam-power. Roaring Creek furnace, 
in Montour county, was next blown in with anthracite on 
May 18, 1840, and produced 40 tons of pig iron weekly with 

A charcoal furnace at Phcenixville, built in 1837 by 
Reeves, Buck & Co., was blown in with anthracite on June 
17, 1840, by William Firmstone, and produced from 28 to 30 
tons of pig iron weekly with water-power. The hot-blast 
stove, which was planned and erected by Julius Guiteau, of 
the Mauch Chunk furnace, was situated on one side of the 
tunnel-head and heated by the flame of the furnace. This 
furnace continued in blast until 1841. 

Columbia furnace, at Danville, was blown in with anthra- 
cite by Mr. Perry on July 2, 1840, and made from 30 to 32 
tons of pig iron weekly, using steam-power. 

The next furnace to use anthracite, and the last one we 
shall mention, was built at Catasauqua, for the Lehigh Crane 
Iron Company, in 1839, by David Thomas, who had been 
associated with Mr. Crane in his experiments at Yniscedwin, 
and had there been successful in making anthracite pig iron. 
This furnace was blown in by Mr. Thomas on July 3, 1840, 
and its first cast was made on July 4th. From the first this 
furnace produced 50 tons a week of good foundry iron, wa- 
ter-power from the Lehigh being used. The furnace was in 
active use until 1879, when it was torn down. Mr. Firmstone 
says that "with the erection of this furnace commenced the 
era of higher and larger furnaces and better blast machinery, 
with consequent improvements in yield and quality of iron 
produced." Four other furnaces built by Mr. Thomas for the 
same company at Catasauqua soon followed the first furnace, 
one built in 1842, another in 1846, and two in 1850. In all 
Mr. Thomas built five furnaces for the Lehigh Crane Iron 
Company. The prefix " Lehigh " was dropped in 1872. 

In a memoir of Josiah White, by his son-in-law, Rich- 


ard Richardson, we find the following statement : " In 1838 
Erskine Hazard went to Wales, and there made himself ac- 
quainted with the process and manner of making the anthra- 
cite iron, with the machinery and buildings needful for its 
manufacture. He ordered such machinery as was necessary 
to be made for the company, under the direction of George 
Crane, the inventor, and engaged David Thomas, who was fa- 
miliar with the process, to take charge of the erection of the 
works and the manufacture of the iron. He arrived in the 
summer of 1839, and to his faithful and intelligent manage- 
ment much of the success of the enterprise is due." We do 
not hesitate to say that to Mr. Thomas's management was 
due the whole of the success of the anthracite furnaces built 
by the Lehigh Crane Iron Company. 

David Thomas was born on November 3, 1794, at a place 
called, in English, Grey House, within two and a half miles 
of the town of Neath, in the county of Glamorgan, South 
Wales. He landed in the United States on June 5, 1839, and 
on July 9th of that year he commenced to build the furnace 
at Catasauqua. He died at Catasauqua on June 20, 1882, in 
his 88th year. At the time of his death he was the oldest 
ironmaster in the United States in length of service, and he 
was next to Peter Cooper the oldest in years. David Thom- 
as's character and services to the American iron trade are 
held in high honor by all American iron and steel manufact- 
urers. He is affectionately styled the Father of the Ameri- 
can anthracite iron industry, because the furnace built under 
his directions at Catasauqua and blown in by him was the 
first of all the early anthracite furnaces that was complete- 
ly successful, both from an engineering and a commercial 
standpoint, and also because he subsequently became identi- 
fied with the manufacture of anthracite pig iron on a more 
extensive scale than any of his cotemporaries. He was the 
founder of the Thomas Iron Company, at Hokendauqua, 
which has long been at the head of the producers of anthra- 
cite pig iron. The first two furnaces of this company were 
built by Mr. Thomas in 1855. An obituary notice, of Mr. 
Thomas will be found in The Bulletin of The American Iron 
and Steel Association for June 28, 1882. ' William Cullen Bry- 
ant and David Thomas were born on the same day. 


Mr. Thomas's three sons, John, Samuel, and David, all be- 
came identified with their father's occupation and enterprises. 
John and Samuel have been and still are among the most 
prominent of our pig-iron manufacturers. David was killed 
while the Hokendauqua furnaces were under construction. 

In 1835 the Franklin Institute, of Philadelphia, offered a 
premium of a gold medal "to the person who shall manu- 
facture in the United States the greatest quantity of iron from 
the ore during the year, using no other fuel than anthracite 
coal, the quantity to be riot less than twenty tons," but we 
can not learn that the medal was ever awarded to any of the 
persons who were instrumental in establishing the manufact- 
ure of anthracite pig iron in this country. The offer of the 
medal proves that down to 1835 all efforts to manufacture 
pig iron with anthracite coal had been unsuccessful. 

The discovery that anthracite coal could be successfully 
used in the manufacture of pig iron gave a fresh impetus to 
the iron industry in New York, New Jersey, and Maryland, 
as well as in Pennsylvania. In 1840 there were qnjy._sisjur- i 
naces in the United States which used anthracite coal, and 
they were all in Pennsylvania. The first anthracite furnace 
outside of Pennsylvania was built at Stanhope, New Jersey, 
in 1840 and 1841, by the Stanhope Iron Company, and it 
was successfully blown in on April 5, 1841. On the 1st of 
April, 1846, there were forty-two furnaces in Pennsylvania 
and New Jersey which used anthracite coal as fuel, their 
annual capacity being 122,720 tons. In 1856 there were 121 
anthracite furnaces in the country which were either "run- 
ning or in running order " ninety-three in Pennsylvania, 
fourteen in New York, six in Maryland, four in New Jersey, 
three in Massachusetts, and one in Connecticut. These fig- 
ures show rapid progress in building up in a brief period 
a new branch of the American iron industry. Soon after 
1856 many other furnaces were built to use the new fuel. 

Although the revolution to which we have referred prop- 
erly dates from the first successful use of anthracite coal in 
the blast furnace the new fuel had previously been used in 
a small way in this country in other ironmaking operations. 
Its use in these operations became general about the time 
when pig iron was first made with it. 


To encourage the use of anthracite coal the Lehigh Coal 
Mine Company executed, on the 18th of December, 1807, 
a lease for twenty-one years to James Butland and James 
Rowland of two hundred acres of its land in Northampton 
county, Pennsylvania, with the privilege of digging iron ore 
and coal free for the manufacture of iron. The enterprise 
was unfruitful and the lease was abandoned about 1814. No 
iron was made and we think that no coal was mined. The 
following extract from the proposition of Butland & Rowland, 
dated November 30, 1807, is worthy of preservation : " The 
subscribers, having obtained by patent from the United 
States an exclusive right of using a natural carbon or pecu- 
liar kind of coal, such as is found in the neighborhood of 
the Lehigh and Susquehanna rivers, and other parts of the 
United States, for the purpose of manufacturing pig, cast, 
and bar iron, propose commencing the operation in such a 
situation as may be deemed best adapted to the purpose." 

The first use of anthracite coal in connection with the 
manufacture of- iron in the United States dates from 1812, 
in Avliicli year Colonel George Shoemaker, of Pottsville, Penn- 
sylvania, loaded nine wagons with coal from his mines at 
Centreville and hauled it to Philadelphia, where with great 
difficulty he sold two loads at the cost of transportation and 
gave the other seven loads away. He was by many regarded 
as an impostor for attempting to sell stone to the public as 
coal. Of the two loads sold one was purchased by White & 
Hazard, for use at their wire works at the Falls of Schuyl- 
kill, and the other was purchased by Malin & Bishop, for 
use at the Delaware County rolling mill. By the merest ac- 
cident of closing the furnace doors Mr. White obtained a hot 
fire from the coal, and from this occurrence, happening in 
1812, we may date the first successful use of anthracite coal 
in the manufacture of iron in this country and in the man- 
ufacture of other American products. At both the establish- 
ments mentioned it was used in heating furnaces. Previous 
to this time bituminous coal from Virginia and Great Brit- 
ain had been relied upon for manufacturing purposes in the 
Atlantic States in all cases where wood was not used. The 
war of 1812 prevented the importation of British coal and 
interfered with the supply of Virginia coal, and there were 


as yet no means of communication with the bituminous coal 
fields of Western Pennsylvania or Western Maryland. The 
firm of White & Hazard was composed of Josiah White and 
Erskine Hazard. 

In the latter part of 1823 the Boston Iron Company, own- 
ing the Boston iron works, obtained a full cargo of Lehigh 
anthracite -coal for use in heating iron to be rolled in its mill 
and for smith-work. A short time previous to this transac- 
tion, but in the same year, Cyrus Alger, of South Boston, 
obtained a lot of about thirty tons of Lehigh coal, which he 
used in a cupola for melting iron for castings. 

Anthracite coal for the generation of steam was first used 
in this country in January, 1825, under the boilers of the 
rolling mill at Phoenix ville, of which Jonah and George 
Thompson, of Philadelphia, were the proprietors. It is also 
claimed that, two years later, in 1827, the first use of anthra- 
cite coal in the puddling furnace in this country was made 
at the same rolling mill, Jonah and George Thompson still 
being the proprietors. It is stated that anthracite coal was 
used in 1834 in puddling at a rolling mill at Pottsville, 
owned by Buckley & Swift. But the use of anthracite coal 
for puddling did not become general until about 1840. In 
1839 it was used in puddling at the Boston iron works by 
Ralph Crooker, the superintendent. About 1836 Thomas and 
Peter Cooper, brothers, used anthracite in a heating furnace 
at their rolling mill on Thirty-third street, near Third ave- 
nue, New York, and about 1840 they began puddling with 
anthracite. In April, 1846, there were twenty-seven rolling 
mills in Pennsylvania and New Jersey which were using an- 
thracite coal in puddling and heating furnaces as well as in 
producing steam. 

The following notice of the success of the Messrs. Thomp- 
son in the use of anthracite coal for the production of steam 
appeared in 1825 in a newspaper published at West Chester, 
Pennsylvania : " We understand that the Messrs. Thompson, 
at the Phoenix nail works, on French creek, have fully suc- 
ceeded in constructing a furnace for a steam engine calcula- 
ted' for the use of anthracite coal, and in discovering a mode 
by which this fuel may be most advantageously applied to 
that important purpose. We would heartily congratulate the 


eastern section of our State upon this valuable discovery. 
Nothing within our knowledge has occurred of recent date 
which can have a more auspicious influence upon our man- 
ufacturing interests." 

We may properly close this chapter and introduce its 
successor by quoting the following extract from the letter of 
instructions addressed to its European agent, William Strick- 
land, by the Acting Committee of the Pennsylvania Society 
for the Promotion of Internal Improvement. This letter is 
dated at Philadelphia, March 18, 1825. In speaking of the 
manufacture of iron in Pennsylvania, and the necessity of 
enlarging it by the adoption of European methods, the com- 
mittee says': 

" No improvements have been made here in it within the 
last thirty years, and the use of bituminuous and anthracite coal 
in our furnaces is absolutely and entirely unknoivn. Attempts, 
and of the most costly kind, have been made to use the coal 
of the western part of our State in the production of iron. 
Furnaces have been constructed according to the plan said to 
be adopted in Wales and elsewhere ; persons claiming expe- 
rience in the business have been employed ; but all has been 




IT is remarkable that the introduction of bituminous coal 
in the blast furnaces of this country should have taken place 
at so late a day in our history and within the memory of men 
who are not yet old. Bituminous coal had been discovered 
in the United States long before any attempt w r as made to 
use it in our furnaces, and Great Britain had taught us while 
we were still her colonies that it could be so used. IixJLZ35 
Abraham Darby, at his furnace at Coalbrookdale, in Shrop- 
shire, ha3 successfully made pig iron with coke as fuel ; in 
1740 a coke furnace was built at Pontypool, in Monmouth- 
shire ; and in 1796 charcoal furnaces had been almost entire- 
ly abandoned in Great Britain. Our delay in following the 
example of the mother country may be variously explained. 
There was a lack of transportation facilities for bringing iron 
ore and coke together ; not all of the bituminous coal that 
had been discovered was suitable for making coke ; the man- 
ufacture of coke was not well understood ; the country had 
an abundance of timber for the supply of charcoal; and, 
finally, a prejudice existed in favor of charcoal pig iron and 
of bar iron hammered in charcoal forges. It was not until 
about 1840 that successful efforts were made to introduce the 
use of bituminous coal in American blast furnaces, but its 
use made slow progress for many years, the principal reason 
being the poor quality of the coke that was made. Our best 
coking fields had not been developed. As late as 1849 Over- 
man, in his Manufacture of Iron, in treating of coke furnaces 
in the United States, said : " As there is but little prospect 
of an addition to the number of coke furnaces which now 
exist we shall devote but a limited space to this subject." 

The successful introduction of bituminous, coal as a fuel 
in American blast furnaces was naturally preceded by many 
experiments in its use, which were attended with varied suc- 
cess, but none of them with complete success. It appears to 


be mathematically certain that down to 1835 all of these ex- 
periments had been unsuccessful, as in that year the Franklin 
Institute, of Philadelphia, offered a premium of a gold medal 
" to the person who shall manufacture in the United States 
the greatest quantity of iron from the ore during the year, 
using no other fuel than bituminous coal or coke, the quan- 
tity to be not less than twenty tons." The Institute would 
not have been likely to make this offer if even so small a 
quantity as twenty tons of pig iron had been made in one 
furnace with bituminous coal, either coked or uncoked. 

The earliest experiment in the United States in the man- 
ufacture of pig iron with bituminous coal that appears to be 
fully authenticated was made at Bear Creek furnace, in Arm- 
strong county, Pennsylvania, in 1819. This furnace was built 
to use coke, with steam-power, and in the year named it was 
blown in with this fuel, but the blast was cold and too weak 
and the furnace chilled after two or three tons of iron had 
been made. Charcoal was then substituted. 

In a report by a committee of the Senate of Pennsylvania, 
of which Hon. S. J. Packer was chairman, read in the Senate 
on March 4, 1834, it was stated that " the coking process is 
now understood, and our bituminous coal is quite as suscep- 
tible of this operation, and produces as good coke, as that 
of Great Britain. It is now used to a considerable extent by 
our iron manufacturers in Centre county and elsewhere." It 
is certain that, at the time this report was written, coke could 
not have been used in blast furnaces in any other way than 
as a mixture with charcoal, except experimentally. Its use 
as a mixture with charcoal would naturally precede its sole 
use as a blast-furnace fuel. Mr. Packer doubtless also had 
in mind the use of coke in melting pig iron in " run-out " 
or " finery " fires preparatory to converting it into blooms 
or bars in charcoal forges. We have elsewhere referred to 
the use of coke in a refinery at Plumsock, in Fayette county, 
Pennsylvania, as early as 1817. 

The offer of the gold medal by the Franklin Institute 
doubtless assisted in stimulating action upon a subject which 
had already attracted much attention. In the year in which 
this offer was made, 1835, that accomplished furnace mana- 
ger, William Firmstone, was successful in making good gray 


forge iron for about one month at the end of a blast at Mary 
Ann furnace, in Huntingdon county, Pennsylvania, with coke 
made from Broad Top coal. This iron was taken to a forge 
three miles distant and made into blooms. The coke used 
at the furnace was not prepared to be so used, but had been 
made for use in the " run-out " fires at the forge connected 
with the furnace. Mr. Firmstone did not claim the medal. 
He may not have known that a premium had been offered 
for the achievement which he undoubtedly accomplished. 

In a pamphlet published in April, 1836, Isaac Fisher, of 
Lewistown, Pennsylvania, stated that " successful experiments 
have lately been tried in Pennsylvania in making pig iron 
with coke." It is probable that Mr. Fisher had in mind Mr. 
Firmstone 's experiment at Mary Ann furnace. 

William Firmstone was born at Wellington, in Shropshire, 
England, on October '19, 1810. When quite a young man he 
was manager at the Lays works, near Dudley, which were 
then owned by his uncles, W. &. G. Firmstone. In the spring 
of 1835 he emigrated to the United States. After filling many 
responsible positions in connection with the manufacture of 
pig iron in his adopted country he died at his residence near 
Easton, Pennsylvania, on September 11, 1877, and is buried 
at that place. He was one of the first to introduce the hot- 
blast in the United States, having successfully^ added this 
improvement to Vesuvius furnace, in Lawrence county, Ohio, 
in 1836. In 1839 he added a hot-blast to Karthaus furnace, 
in Pennsylvania. 

About 1837 F. H. Oliphant, a skillful ironmaster, made 
at his furnace called Fairchance, near Uniontown, in Fayette 
county, Pennsylvania, a quantity of coke pig iron exceeding 
twenty tons, and probably exceeding 100 tons. He did not, 
however, long continue to make coke iron, and resumed the 
manufacture of iron with charcoal. Mr. Oliphant had heard 
of the offer of the gold medal, and in a letter to the Institute, 
dated October 3, 1837, he modestly referred to his success in 
making pig iron with coke, and suggested that possibly he 
was entitled to the premium. Accompanying his letter was 
a box of pig iron and the raw materials of its manufacture. 
We can not learn that he ever received the medal, or that 
anybody received it. 


Between 1836 and 1839 other attempts to use coke were 
made at several furnaces in Pennsylvania, but all the experi- 
ments were unsuccessful or unfortunate. The legislature of 
Pennsylvania passed an act on June 16, 1836, "to encourage 
the manufacture of iron with coke or mineral coal," which 
authorized the organization of companies for the manufact- 
ure, transportation, and sale of iron made with coke or coal. 
At Farrandsville, in Clinton county, six miles north of Lock 
Haven, half a million dollars were sunk by a Boston com- 
pany in a disastrous attempt to smelt the neighboring ores 
with coke and to establish other iron and mining enterprises. 
This company had commenced operations in mining coal as 
early as 1833. The furnace was blown in in the summer 
of 1837 and ran probably until 1839. About 3,500 tons of 
iron were made, but at such great cost, owing to the impurity 
of the coal and the distance from the ore, that further efforts 
to make iron with coke were abandoned. At Karthaus, in 
Clearfield county, the Clearfield Coal and Iron Company, 
embracing Henry C. Carey, Burd Patterson, John White, and 
others, succeeded in 1839, under the management of William 
Firmstone, in making pig iron with coke in a furnace which 
was built in 1836 by Peter Bitner (brother of Governor Bit- 
ner) and John Say, but at the close of the year the whole 
enterprise was abandoned, owing to the lack of proper trans- 
portation facilities. A furnace at Frozen run, in Lycoming 
county, made some pig iron with coke in 1838, but in 1839 
it was using charcoal. The furnaces at Farrandsville and 
Karthaus were both supplied with hot-blasts, the former in 
1837 and the latter in 1839. The apparatus at Farrandsville 
was made at Glasgow and was the best then known. 

Henry Charles Carey, the distinguished political econo- 
mist and son of Mathew Carey, who was also similarly distin- 
guished, was born in Philadelphia on the 15th of December, 
1793, and died in the same city on the 13th of October, 1879, 
having nearly completed his 86th year. He was buried at 
Burlington, New Jersey, where his wife had previously been 
buried. It is not generally known that Henry C. Carey was 
ever interested pecuniarily in the manufacture of iron, as we 
have shown above. 

The first notable success in the use of bituminous coal in 


the blast furnace in this country was achieved at three fur- 
naces in Western Maryland. Lonaconing furnace, at Lonaco- 
ning, in the Frostburg coal basin, on George's creek, about 
j eight miles southwest of the National Road at Frostburg, in 
.Alleghany county, was built in 1837 by the George's Creek 
Company to use coke, and in June, 1839, as is stated by 
Johnson, in his Notes on the Use of Anthracite, it was making 
about seventy tons per week of good foundry iron. Alexan- 
der says that this furnace was fifty feet high, and 'that "the 
air was heated by stoves placed near the tuyere arches, and 
attained a temperature of 700 degrees Fahrenheit." The fur- 
nace was blown by an engine of sixty horse-power. In the 
same coal basin, on the south branch of Jenning's run, nine 
miles northwest of Cumberland, two large blast furnaces 
were built in 1840 by the Mount Savage Iron Company to 
use the same fuel. These furnaces were for several years 
successfully operated with coke. It is worthy of notice that 
Alexander's report to the Governor of Maryland, made in 
1840, and which was the first able and comprehensive con- 
tribution to the technical literature of the iron and steel in- 
dustries of this country, was written partly to show to the 
people of Maryland the feasibility of substituting, coke for 
charcoal in the manufacture of pig iron, the British blast- 
furnace practice at that time being largely drawn upon for 
illustrations of what had already been accomplished with the 
new fueL 

But the use of coke did not come rapidly into favor, and 
many experiments with it were attended . with loss. It was 
not until after 1850 that its use began to exert an appreciable 
influence upon the manufacture of pig iron. In 1849 there 
was not one coke furnace in blast in Pennsylvania. Over- 
man stated in that year in his book that he knew of no 
coke furnaces in this country which were then in operation. 
Thus far the use of coke had not contributed to the revo- 
lution to which we have referred in the preceding chapter. 
In 1856 there were twenty-one furnaces in Pennsylvania and 
three in Maryland which were using coke or were adapted 
to its use, and their total production in that year was 44,481 
gross tons of pig iron. After 1856 the use of this fuel in 
the blast furnace increased in Pennsylvania and was extended 


to other States, but it was not until after 1865 that its .use for 
this purpose increased rapidly. Not more than 100,000 gross 
tons of coke were consumed in the production of pig iron in 
this country in that year. A tremendous stride was taken 
in the next fifteen years, however, the quantity of coke con- 
sumed in the blast furnaces of the United States in the cen- 
sus year 1880 having been 2,128,255 net tons. In the census 
year 1890 the consumption was about 10,000,000 net tons. 

The first furnaces south of the Potomac which used coke , 
as fuel appear to have been Potomac furnace, on the Poto- / 
mac river, in Loudoun county, Virginia, about three-quarters 
of a mile below Point of Rocks ; Clinton furnace, nine miles 
south of Morgantown, in Monongalia county, West Virginia ; 
and Vulcan furnace, in Hampshire county, Virginia, nine 
miles southeast of Cumberland. These furnaces were origi- 
nally built to use charcoal, but they used small quantities of 
coke before the civil war. Potomac furnace is said by Lesley 
to have commenced to use coke in 1848, and Clinton furnace 
used the same fuel in 1856. About 1858 Vulcan furnace 
was blown in with coke. We presume that all these furnaces 
drew their supply of coke from the Frostburg region. We 
know of no other coke furnaces south of the Potomac and 
the Ohio rivers prior to 1860. Potomac furnace was owned 
in 1859 by John W. Geary, afterwards Governor of Pennsyl- 
vania. Anna furnace, on the right bank of Cheat river, in 
the village of Pridevale, in Monongalia county, West Virgin- 
ia, made an unsuccessful experiment with coke in 1854, after 
having previously used charcoal. 

In our Tennessee chapter we have given the history of 
the first coke furnace which was built south of the Potomac 
region. This was Bluff furnace, at Chattanooga, which was 
successfully blown in with coke in May, 1860, after having 
previously used charcoal. 

The first coke furnace built in the South after the war . 
was the first of the two Rockwood furnaces, at Rockwood, * 
in Roane county, Tennessee. This furnace was built by the 
Roane Iron Company in 1867. 

While the effort was being made in a few localities in 
Pennsylvania and Maryland to introduce the use of coke in 
the blast furnace attention was also directed to the possibility 


of using uncoked coal for the same purpose. Alexander 
says that the proprietors of Lonaconing furnace, in Western 
Maryland, used raw coal before the appearance of his report 
in 1840. He leaves the reader to infer that it was success- 
fully used, but he probably wrote from imperfect information. 
Some unsuccessful experiments were made with raw coal in 
Clarion county, Pennsylvania, about 1840. In the sketch of 
Mercer county, Pennsylvania, in Day's Historical Collections, 
printed in 1843, it is stated that, " in the vicinity of Sharon, 
on the Pittsburgh and Erie canal, exists a most valuable bed 
of coal of peculiar quality, between anthracite and bitumi- 
nous, without the least sulphur. It has been tried success- 
fully for smelting iron in a common charcoal furnace." It 
is very probable that the furnace referred to was in Mer- 
cer county. The coal mentioned is now classed among bitu- 
minous varieties. At Arcole furnace, in Lake county, Ohio, 
operated by Wilkeson & Co., raw coal from Greenville, Mer- 
cer county, Pennsylvania, was experimented with about 1840. 
John Wilkeson, one of the owners of the furnace at that 
time, writes us that the experiment " met with a small meas- 
ure of success." Doubtless the several experiments mention- 
ed were not the only ones that were made with raw coal be- 
fore success in its use was fully achieved ; and doubtless, too, 
none of the experiments mentioned produced any more sat- 
isfactory results than the qualified success attained at Arcole 

The first completely successful use of raw bituminous 
coal in the blast furnace occurred in the autumn of 1845. It 
is circumstantially described in the following extract from a 
pamphlet entitled Youngstown, Past and Present, published in 
1875. " In July, 1845, Himrod & Vincent, of Mercer county, 
Pennsylvania, blew in the Clay furnace, not many miles from 
the Ohio line, on the waters of the Shenango. About three 
months afterwards, in consequence of a short supply of char- 
coal, as stated by Mr. Davis, their founder, a portion of coke 
was used to charge the furnace. Their coal belongs to seam 
No. 1, the seam which is now used at Sharon and Youngs- 
town, in its raw state, variously known as ' free-burning 
splint/ or ' block coal,' and which never makes solid coke. 
A difficulty soon occurred with the cokers, and, as Mr. Him- 


rod states, he conceived the plan of trying his coal without 
coking. The furnace continued to work well and to produce 
a fair quality of metal. It is admitted that Mr. David Him- 
rod, late of Youngstown, produced the first metal with raw 
coal about the close of the year 1845." 

The furnace here alluded to was situated on Anderson's 
run, in Mercer county, Pennsylvania, about two and one-half, 
miles southeast of Clarksville, and was built in 1845. It has 
been abandoned for many years. In the chapter relating to 
Michigan we have mentioned the part taken by this furnace 
at a later day in smelting Lake Superior iron ores with the 
block coal of the Shenango valley. 

In 1845 Messrs. Wilkeson, Wilkes & Co., of Lowell, in 
Poland township, Mahoning county, Ohio, commenced the 
erection of Mahoning furnace, as related in the chapter de- 
voted to Ohio, expressly to use coal in its raw state from 
their mine near Lowell. The furnace was successfully blown 
in with this fuel by John Crowther on the 8th of August, 
1846. It was while this furnace was in course of erection 
that the use of raw coal at Clay furnace was commenced. It 
may be added that Mr. Davis, the founder of Clay furnace, 
visited and inspected Mahoning furnace while work upon it 
was progressing, and that he had been an employe of the 
owners of Arcole furnace and was familiar with the experi- 
ments that had been made at it in the use of raw coal about 
1840. The Trumbull Democrat, of Warren, Ohio, for August 
15, 1846, in an account of the blowing in of Mahoning fur- 
nace, states that " to these gentlemen (Wilkeson, Wilkes & 
Co.) belongs the honor of being the first persons in the United 
States who have succeeded in putting a furnace in blast with 
raw bituminous coal." 

John Crowther w r as an Englishman, born at Broseley, in 
Shropshire, on May 7, 1797. He emigrated to the United 
States in 1844, immediately prior to which time he had been 
the manager of seven blast furnaces in Staffordshire five 
at Stowheath and two at Osier Bed. Prior to his connection 
with the Lowell furnace he had been employed as manager 
of the furnaces at Brady's Bend. He adapted many furnaces 
in the Mahoning and Shenango valleys to the use of block 
coal, and instructed three of his sons in their management, 


namely, Joshua, Joseph J., and Benjamin. He died on April 
15, 1861, at Longton, in Staffordshire, England, where he is 
buried. Joshua Growth er died in this country in October, 
1883, aged over 60 years. 

After it had been demonstrated at Clay and Mahoning 
furnaces that the block coal of the Shenango and Mahoning 
valleys could be used in the manufacture of pig iron other 
furnaces in these two valleys were built to use this fuel, and 
some charcoal furnaces were altered to use it. In 1850 there 
were, however, only four furnaces in the Mahoning valley 
and only seven in the Shenango valley which used raw coal. 
After 1850, and especially after the introduction into these 
valleys of Lake Superior ores about 1856, the use of raw coal 
greatly increased. In 1856 six furnaces in Pennsylvania and 
thirteen in Ohio were using this fuel, their total production 
in that year being 25,073 gross tons. Some progress was 
afterwards made in its use in other States, particularly in In- 
diana, and also in the Hocking valley in Ohio, but down to 
1880 its use had been mainly confined to the Shenango and 
Mahoning valleys. Since 1880 its use has gradually declin- 
ed, coke having almost entirely taken its place, even in these 
two valleys. 

Probably the first use of raw bituminous coal in a fur- 
nace south of the Ohio river was at " Alexander's steam, hot- 
blast, stone-coal furnace," afterwards called Airdrie furnace, 
located on the south bank of Green river, at Paradise, in 
Muhlenburg county, Kentucky. Lesley says that this furnace 
was built in 1857 " for bituminous coal from the Airdrie bed 
and black-band iron ore, both mined close by the furnace." 

An air furnace was built at Westham, on the James river, 
six miles above Richmond, during the Revolution, which is 
said to have used bituminous coal from Chesterfield county, 
Virginia, in the manufacture of shot and shells for the Con- 
tinental army until the furnace was destroyed by Benedict 
Arnold in 1781. 

But a much earlier use of bituminous coal in connection 
with the manufacture of iron in this country was at Colonel 
Spotswood's air furnace at Massaponax, which is mentioned 
in our Virginia chapter. Colonel Byrd says that " sea coal," 
the old name for pit coal or bituminous coal, was used at this 


air furnace when he visited it in 1732. " Sea coal " was so 
named because it was originally taken to London from the 
north of England by sea. The phrase entered into common 
use, and was applied indiscriminately to all bituminous coal, 
even if it had not been near the sea. It may still be heard 
in New England. The " sea coal " used at Massaponax had 
undoubtedly come from England or Wales. 

Bituminous coal was used at an early day in a raw state 
in the heating furnaces attached to American rolling and 
slitting mills, and in 1817, when a rolling mill was built at 
Plumsock, in Fayette county, Pennsylvania, it was so used 
in both heating and puddling furnaces. In the same year 
coke was used in a refinery at this mill. It was not, howev- 
er, until about 1830, when rolling mills became numerous at 
Pittsburgh, that the use of bituminous coal in puddling and 
heating furnaces assumed noteworthy prominence. 

BEFORE the close of the charcoal era in 1840 steam had 
been applied to the blowing of American furnaces,